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The Mother and the Whore

The Mother and the Whore

A Feature film by Jean Eustache

Produced by Elite Films

Release in France : 17/05/1973

  • Contents

Actors (15)

Production and distribution (4)

Executive Producer :

Elite Films

Film exports/foreign sales :

Mercure Distribution

Box Office: Total results

Box office: Timeline

International releases (11)

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Synopsis

In Paris, the pedantic Alexandre lives with his mate Marie in her apartment, an open relationship. Alexandre, who is idle and chauvinist, spends his days reading, drinking and shagging women. After flirting with his former affair, Gilberte, who tells him that she will marry soon her boyfriend, Alexandre meets the Laenne Hospital nurse Veronika Osterwald and they schedule a date. Alexandre learns that Veronika is a promiscuous woman that loves to shag and introduces her to Marie. They have a threesome and Alexandre has a crush on Veronika.

Source : IMDb

Subject

Production

In 1972 Eustache had begun to doubt his career in films and contemplated quitting the business. He told a reporter from Le Nouvel Observateur "If I knew what it was that I wanted, I wouldn't wake up in the morning to make films. I'd do nothing, I'd try to live without doing or producing anything." Soon afterwards he got a new idea for a film to make with his friends Jean-Pierre Léaud, Bernadette Lafont and Françoise Lebrun, who at that time was a literature student that he knew and had never acted before. He was loaned money from friend Barbet Schroeder to spend three months writing the script, which was over three-hundred pages. Although the film often seems to be highly improvised, every word of dialogue was written by Eustache.

The film was shot in only four months on a budget of 700,000 francs. Eustache called it a very hostile film, and it mostly consisted of dialogues and monologues about sex. Eushache says that the character Alexandre is "destroying [the three lead characters], but he is looking for it all along. After his voyage into madness and depression, he ends up alone. That's when I stop the film." The film had no musical score and only used natural sounds and occasionally music played by the characters on phonographs, such as Mozart and Edith Piaf. Eustache described the film as a "narrative of certain seemingly innocous acts. It could be the narrative of entirely different acts, in other places. What happens, the places where the action unfolds, have no importance...My subject is the way in which important actions situate themselves in a continum of innocuous ones. It's the description of the normal course of events without the schematic abbreviation of cinematographic dramatization."

Reception

The Mother and the Whore is considered Eustache's masterpiece, and was called the best film of the 1970s by Cahiers du cinéma. It won the Grand Prix of the Jury and the FIPRESCI prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. The film created a scandal at the Cannes Film Festival, as many critics saw the film as immoral and obscene or, in the words of the broadsheet Le Figaro, "an insult to the nation", while Télé-7-Jours called it a "monument of boredom and a Himalaya of pretension."

After gaining little public recognition despite receiving praise throughout the years from critics and directors, such as Andre Bazin, Francois Truffaut and other members of the French New Wave, Eustache became an overnight success and internationally famous after the film's Cannes premiere. He soon financed his next film. The critic Dan Yakir said that the film was "a rare instance in French cinema where the battle of the sexes is portrayed not from the male point of view alone." James Monaco called it, "one of the most significant French films of the 1970s." Jean-Louise Berthomé said, "I am not sure that La mama et la putain, with its romances of a poor young man of 1972, doesn't say something new." Pauline Kael praised the film, saying it reminded her of John Cassavetes in its ability "to put raw truth on the screen - including the boring and the trivial."

The film's reputation increased over time. In 1982 the literary magazine, Les Nouvelles Littéraires, celebrated the tenth anniversary of the film by publishing a series of articles on it.

Source : Wikipedia

Photos (13)

Full credits (13)

Assistant directors :

Luc Béraud, Remy Duchemin

Screenwriter :

Jean Eustache

Director of Photography :

Pierre Lhomme

Assistant Operators :

Michel Cénet, Jacques Renard

Editors :

Jean Eustache, Denise de Casabianca

Sound Mixer :

Nara Kollery

Still Photographer :

Bernard Prim

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :

Fiction

Sub-genre :

Psychological drama

Themes :

Love, Sexuality

Production language :

French

Production country :

France

Original French-language productions :

Unknown

Nationality :

100% French (France)

Production year :

1972

French release :

17/05/1973

Runtime :

3 h 40 min

Current status :

Released

Visa number :

40264

Visa issue date :

09/05/1973

Approval :

Unknown

Production formats :

35mm

Color type :

Black & White

Aspect ratio :

1.37

Audio format :

Mono

Posters (2)

Director

Festival Selections (3)

Awards (2)

Berlin International Film Festival - 1973

Berlin International Film Festival (Germany, 1973)

Awards

Interfilm Award - Honorable Mention

Cannes International Film Festival - 1973

Cannes International Film Festival (France, 1973)

Awards (2)

FIPRESCI Award

Grand Prize