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4.4
1,251 Ratings

The Mother and the Whore

La maman et la putain

Directed by Jean Eustache
France, 1973
Avant-Garde, Drama, Romance

Synopsis

Jean Eustache’s marathon drama focuses on three twenty-something Parisians in a bizarre love triangle: Alexandre is a seemingly unemployed narcissist involved with both a live-in girlfriend and a Polish nurse whom he picked up at a café, and with whom he begins a desultory affair.

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The Mother and the Whore Directed by Jean Eustache
A voluble dirge, the love-triangle epic looks askance at the cultural revolution. But the film’s most withering judgments are reserved for the ostensible hero, a coddled coxcomb sure to drown in his own torrent of words, each peroration delivered by Léaud as an aria of noxious narcissism.
March 28, 2017
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Veronika provides both a sad-eyed moral center and a clear-eyed critique of what she calls Alexandre’s “shitty relationships with women” to this sometimes funny, sometimes wearying, ultimately absorbing and unsettling 220-minute slice of life.
January 13, 2016
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The film’s greatest accomplishment is its gradual transformation into something much darker and sadder than its seemingly aimless first two hours suggest. Eustache spends so much time and burns so many close-ups surveying the day-to-day delusions of these unfaithful and compulsively hypocritical pleasure-seekers that there’s bound to be an eventual implosion, and when it does come it nearly matches Bergman for toxic soul-baring.
November 27, 2013
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