My Night With Maud (PG)

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The Independent Culture

The third of six "moral tales" by the great French director who died in January, this monochrome talkathon starts with a Catholic engineer (Jean-Louis Trintignant) spotting a beautiful blonde in church and resolving to marry her.

Temptation rears its head when a college pal introduces him to Maud (Françoise Fabian), a "free-thinking" divorcee. The three discuss love, religion and Pascal, and the engineer sleeps with Maud, but chastely. They part as friends, and he romances the blonde Papist (Marie-Christine Barrault) in an edgy simulacrum of his night with Maud. Five years later, they meet again and we hear of an epiphanic moment. Maud remains a fascinating study of principles under strain, but now seems cinematically prosaic and full of conversational tropes that are as dated ("Do I shock you with my views?") as the engineer's polo-neck sweater.

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