0523: My Night at Maud’s (1969)

My Night at Maud's.jpg

Rating: 3.33/10

This feels like one of those French films that all the parodies of artsy, black and white, post-modern, surreal, French movies are making fun of. There’s a good example of that in Grand Theft Auto 5 if you visit the movie theater (watch it here).  This isn’t too surrealistic, not in the traditional sense though, which is downright weird, if you watch the GTA 5 thing above, you’ll notice a pretty weird feel to it, though that is meant to be satire.

Instead, the scenes don’t make sense in that they don’t go in any order for the first 25 minutes of screentime. They’re showing normal, everyday scenes, interlaced between other normal, everyday scenes and don’t quite tell a coherent story. For example, it begins with a scene of driving, then a scene at a Catholic church, then more driving, then our main character meeting a friend at a bar, they have small talk (unimportant), cut to more driving, cut to back at the bar for more small talk, cut to the church again to hear more of the sermon. It doesn’t tell a coherent story, it doesn’t really tell any story. Not for the first 25 minutes anyway. Making everything about this section of the film pointless. It doesn’t set up characters well, nor does it show anything in terms of plot, therefore it shouldn’t have been in the movie.

The next 30-40 minutes is spent in a single location, Maude’s apartment, where they have a very long conversation about philosophy, sex, relationships, and religion that goes on for too long. Though it is interesting, it feels more like watching a play during this point that doesn’t have a plot (much like the first act). Then, when this scene finally ends, it becomes an actual movie finally and does become interesting and actually a pretty good emotional drama about relationships. I guess if this movie was essentially just these parts, the last ten minutes or so of the second act (to set up the third) and then the rest of the movie, it would be fine.

As it stands, being first a weird postmodern film, then basically a conversation about high-minded ideas but not really going anywhere until after the conversation is over. Then a pretty okay movie that’s kind of a tragic romance, sort of? It’s just weird. Maybe if I was a French film historian I would understand more of what the director was trying to accomplish but as it stands, it just feels like a film that came from a group of ideas and hastily thrown together into a movie and perhaps also fueled by cocaine. I’m not saying that the people who made this did a whole lot of coke to make it, just that it feels like that.

Why you should watch it before you die: Because you understand French cinema, and then you should come back here and explain it to me…

SCORING:

+3.33: 1/3 of the movie is pretty good.

-0.5: Huh? about the 1st act

-0.5: 2nd act is long and pointless

+1: still, pretty good 3rd act

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