Don’t forget to watch “My Night at Maud’s” if you want to spend your Christmas in a reflective mindset. In this discussion piece featuring French superstar Jean-Louis Trintignant as Jean-Louis and the seductive Françoise Fabian as Maud, Eric Rohmer’s sextet of films on morality gets its third volume.
These films are not to be missed during the holidays
Solitude is the strongest link between these folks, and they knit over it as they wax on about Blaise Pascal, religion, love, women, and the past. And it all starts with a moralist’s joke: “During the Christmas holidays, a Catholic and a Marxist walk into a bar…” Under Rohmer’s direction, it never had a chance to be a normal Christmas film. Given Jean-Louis’ strict Catholicism, who takes the religious aspect of the festival to new heights. We follow Jean-Louis as he subconsciously searches for this joy within himself through various conversations with his old school chum Vidal (Antoine Vitez), the libertine Maude (Fabian), and his future wife Françoise, as the priest’s sermon during midnight mass promotes a “New and profound joy…a living joy, a joy for today,” and we follow him as he searches for this joy within himself through various conversations with his old school chum Vidal (Antoine Vitez), the libertine (Marie-Christine Barrault). Snow also plays a role; Jean-Louis’ coworkers remark that Protestants make such a big deal over Christmas that “they stay in doors and don’t even know whether it’s snowing.” On Christmas Day, it’s the snow that locks Jean-Louis at Maud’s house. The only time Rohmer focuses on a child is when Maud’s daughter interrupts the adults to see the Christmas tree lights one last time before bed, which Vidal describes as “fake kid’s crap.” In these many ways, the Christmas backdrop becomes a strange mix of devotion and candour, and a way for Rohmer to peel back the layers of his characters and ideas.
Keep in mind “Metropolitan” in the event that you’ve ever went through Christmas excursion with buddies rather than family. Particularly in the event that you appreciate observing elitists bond over Charles Fourier and cha-cha-cha. Amid the Christmas occasions, a close-knit gather of Princeton understudies, counting debutante Audrey (Carolyn Farina) and self important big talker Nick (Chris Eigman), accumulate within the City, where they meet Tom Townsend (Edward Clements) and energize him to connect them on their numerous social exercises. “Metropolitan” depends on the harmless guiltlessness of harmed pride, scornful prattle, and the “who likes whom” of the juvenile world behind its princely veneer. Whit Stillman based his blockbuster screenplay on his experiences as a Harvard student during Christmas break in the 1970s, when he went from gathering to gathering, disputing and discussing numerous ideological subjects about what it means and feels like to be a member of bourgeois society. Although Christmas is barely acknowledged by any of the characters, the setting is omnipresent through internal and exterior decorations (Stillman shot on site in Manhattan and Long Island), as well as the title cards. The film’s greatest Christmas declaration is found in the latter: Audrey spends Christmas Eve listening to mass, aching for Tom. Then Christmas Day is completely skipped, with simply a title card and another title card following: “December 26th: “Orgy” week begins.” “Metropolitan” is a beguilingly exciting cinematic present wrapped in a kind of wit you rarely hear these days, as a reminder of what Christmas means (or doesn’t mean) to aloof debutants still seeking for who they are and what social groupings they belong to.
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Collection: CHRISTMAS Collection