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My Night at Maud's

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My Night at Maud's
Theatrical release poster
Directed byÉric Rohmer
Written byÉric Rohmer
Produced byPierre Cottrell
Barbet Schroeder
StarringJean-Louis Trintignant
Françoise Fabian
Marie-Christine Barrault
Antoine Vitez
CinematographyNéstor Almendros
Edited byCécile Decugis
Distributed byCompagnie Française de Distribution Cinématographique
Release dates
  • 15 May 1969 (1969-05-15)
  • 4 June 1969 (1969-06-04)
  • March 22, 1970 (1970-03-22)
(United States)
Running time
110 minutes

My Night at Maud's (French: Ma nuit chez Maud), also known as My Night with Maud (UK), is a 1969 French New Wave drama film by Éric Rohmer. It is the third film (fourth in order of release) in his series of Six Moral Tales.

Over the Christmas break in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand, the film shows chance meetings and conversations between four single people, each knowing one of the other three. One man and one woman are Catholics, while the other man and woman are atheists. The discussions and actions of the four continually refer to the thoughts of Blaise Pascal (who was born in Clermont-Ferrand) on mathematics, on ethics and on human existence. They also talk about a topic the bachelor Pascal did not cover – love between men and women.[1]



Jean-Louis, a solitary and serious engineer, has taken a job in Clermont-Ferrand where he knows nobody. Attending a Catholic church, he sees a young blonde woman and, without knowing anything about her, is convinced that she will become his wife. In the cafe, he encounters his old school friend Vidal, now a university lecturer and a Marxist, who invites him to a concert with violinist Leonid Kogan that evening. Jean-Louis is at first reluctant but eventually agrees to go. After the concert, they dine in a restaurant. Vidal has plans to visit a woman friend, who is also his lover, the following evening. He invites Jean-Louis to accompany him. However, Jean-Louis plans to attend mass. They agree to attend mass together, as Vidal's friend will not be available until after midnight.

They arrive at the flat of Maud, a pediatrician who is recently divorced. The three talk and drink until Maud suggests that falling snow has made the drive to Jean-Louis' mountain village unsafe, and he should stay. Vidal, who had hoped to stay, leaves. Maud and Jean-Louis discuss religion and their love lives. She makes herself comfortable on the double bed in the living room and tells of her former marriage, which fell apart due to her and her husband's different temperaments. She reveals that he had an affair with a Catholic woman whom she despised, while she herself had a lover whom she was happy with but who died in a car crash. When it is time to sleep, she declares the bed she is in is the only bed and that she sleeps in the nude. She invites Jean-Louis to join her under the covers. He eventually does, keeping his clothes on. In the morning, he kisses her passionately, but then stops, leading Maud to get out of bed. Jean-Louis tries to follow her into the bathroom, but Maud stops him, declaring that she "can't be with a man who doesn't know what he wants". Initially hurt, Maud gets over the rejection and invites him to join her later for a walk in the snow with friends.

Just before meeting Maud's friends, he sees the blonde girl from the church and, much encouraged in his dealings with women by his night with Maud, boldly introduces himself. Her name is Françoise, and she agrees to see him in the church. On the walk with Maud and her friends, he is much more forward with her. They start an affair which they both know has no future as Maud is about to leave Clermont. After leaving Maud's home, Jean-Louis meets Françoise at the same place as before and offers to drive her to the student house where she lives. He learns that she is a biology postgraduate. Because his car becomes stuck in a snowdrift, Françoise offers to let him stay overnight in a separate room. In the morning, before they go to church, she refuses to kiss him. Later, they run into Vidal by chance, and it turns out that Vidal and Françoise know each other, though they act reserved. During one of their next meetings, Françoise admits that although she loves Jean-Louis, she had a passionate affair with a married man until recently whom she can't forget.

Five years on, now married and with a child, Jean-Louis and Françoise unexpectedly see Maud at a beach on holiday. Maud says she has remarried, but it is not a success. Afterwards, Jean-Louis confesses to Françoise that he came from Maud's bed on the morning he first met her but gives no specifics about what really happened. Then he realizes that his wife's lover was Maud's husband. As they are now both happy together, they decide not to bring up the subject again. Instead, they go for a swim with their child.



Production and release


By 1967, Rohmer had the necessary funding for his next project in his Six Moral Tales cycle, My Night at Maud's, to be filmed in 35 mm.[3] Because actor Jean-Louis Trintignant was not available at the time, filming had to be delayed.[3] The film was produced by Les Films du Losange, the production company of Rohmer and Barbet Schroeder.[3]

My Night at Maud's premiered at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival, where it was shown in competition,[4] and was released in French cinemas on 4 June the same year.[5]



One of the main themes concerns Pascal's Wager, which Jean-Louis and Vidal discuss.[1] The conversations are directly inspired by an episode of the television series En profil dans le texte called l'Entretien sur Pascal (The interview on Pascal), which was made by Rohmer and included a similar debate between Brice Parain and Dominican Father Dominique Dubarle.[6][7] Rohmer would again explore themes of Pascal (and other writers) in his 1992 film A Tale of Winter.[8]



When the film was released in France in 1969, it received mixed reviews. Guy Teisseire of L'Aurore wrote that "the best compliment we can pay Éric Rohmer is to have done with My Night at Maud's a talking film. I mean the opposite of a talkative film where the text would be used to fill the gaps: that is to say, a work in which eloquent silences are felt as lack of understanding about both is constant". Claude Garson of L'Aurore said that "we do not underestimate the ambition of such a work, but we say right away that film, with its own laws, does not lend itself to such a subject. The theater, or the conference would have better served the purpose of the authors, because such controversies have nothing photogenic, apart from the presence of the beautiful Françoise Fabian and that very good actor Jean-Louis Trintignant". Henry Chapier of Combat called it "a bit stiff and intellectual". Jean Rochereau of La Croix called it "a masterpiece ... whose superb insolence toward everyone excites me and fills me". Jean de Baroncelli of Le Monde wrote that "it is a work that demands from the viewer a minimum of attention and complicity. We find ourselves on the fringes of worries and obsessions of the time: its commitment goes beyond the everyday. Yet this is, in our view, worth the price. ... We are grateful to Eric Rohmer for his haughty, if a little outdated, austerity. The interpretation is brilliant".[9] Penelope Houston wrote that "this is a calm, gravely ironic, finely balanced film, an exceptionally graceful bit of screen architecture whose elegant proportioning is the more alluring because its symmetry doesn't instantly hit the eye".[10]

My Night at Maud’s was released in the U.S. in 1970 and was nominated for two Academy Awards. Due to the film's influence, Chanturgue, a wine that is subject of a discussion in Maud's apartment, exploded in popularity to become one of the best-selling imported wines by 1971.[11]

It was Rohmer's first successful film both commercially and critically. It was screened and highly praised[citation needed] at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. It was released in the US and praised by critics there as well.[12] James Monaco said that "here, for the first time the focus is clearly set on the ethical and existential question of choice. If it isn't clear within Maud who actually is making the wager and whether or not they win or lose, that only enlarges the idea of "le pari" ("the bet") into the encompassing metaphor that Rohmer wants for the entire series".[13] Its arthouse theater release in the US was so successful that it got a wider release in regular theaters.[10]

My Night at Maud's has an approval rating of 96% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 23 critics' reviews.[14]

Awards and nominations


My Night at Maud's received the 1969 Prix Méliès[2] and the 1970 Prix Max Ophüls,[15] and was awarded for Best Screenplay by the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics in 1970.[2] It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1970[16] and Best Original Screenplay in 1971.[17]


  1. ^ a b Santas, Constantine (2000-07-18). "Choice and Chance: A Dialectic of Morality and Romance in Eric Rohmer's My Night at Maud's – Senses of Cinema". Retrieved 2023-12-30.
  2. ^ a b c d Handyside, Fiona, ed. (2013). Eric Rohmer: Interviews. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781617036880.
  3. ^ a b c Monaco, James (2004). The New Wave:Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette. New York: Sag Harbor. p. 292.
  4. ^ "Ma nuit chez Maude". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2 December 2023.
  5. ^ "Une femme douce (1968) Robert Bresson". Ciné-Ressources (in French). Retrieved 2 December 2023.
  6. ^ "Entretien sur Pascal / Eric Rohmer, réal.; Pierre Gavarry, prod.; Brice Parain, Dominique Dubarle, participants". 1965.
  7. ^ "Media-Sceren, catalogue des collections audiovisuelles du CNDP".
  8. ^ Leigh, Jacob (2012). The Cinema of Eric Rohmer: Irony, Imagination, and the Social World. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781441171399.
  9. ^ Review Home movies JL Trintignant (archive) Archived 2015-02-23 at the Wayback Machine, on the Cinémathèque française website.
  10. ^ a b Wakeman. p. 922.
  11. ^ Jackson, Bruce (2004-04-22). "Night Moves Around Maud – Senses of Cinema". Retrieved 2023-12-30.
  12. ^ "French filmmaker Eric Rohmer dies at 89". CBC News. 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  13. ^ John Wakeman, World Film Directors, Volume 2, 1945-1985. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1988. pp. 919-928.
  14. ^ "My Night at Maud's - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.
  15. ^ Schilling, Derek (2007). Eric Rohmer. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719072345.
  16. ^ "The 42nd Academy Awards (1970) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-16.
  17. ^ "The 43rd Academy Awards (1971) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved February 25, 2015.