OTB#91: La Maman et la putain

*gasp* Shoes in bed!

La maman et la putain. Jean Eustache. 1973. ⚄

All the movies on the list of the best movies (officially) are readily available… except this one. The only legit source I could find it from was this $80 VHS tape, and since my VHS player i… somewhere… I bought a bootleg version of it instead. On DVD, but it looks like it’s been sourced from the VHS.

I mean, a DVD version has been released, at least twice, but it’s nowhere to be found for sale. Very odd, or my Google-fu is broken.

ANYWAY.

The main character where is played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, who looks very familiar indeed. But I didn’t know that he’d been involved with Nouvelle Vague movies since, well, before there were any. He was in The 400 Blows in 1959, when he was only 15. And then in basically all the Godard movies, and the Truffaut ones, and even in some of Rivette’s movies.

I initially had a bit of trouble connecting to the characters here… or even paying attention to the movie at all. Perhaps because of the crappy video quality? It’s easier to be rapt when looking at beautiful mise en scene. But I’m slowly being drawn in; getting fascinated by these mundane conversations. Because that’s what it seems like it’s going to be: Three and a half hours of people dating.

[time passes]

And then somebody reminded me that torrents exist, so after two hours I switched to a “HDTV” (i.e., 1.4K) version of this movie, and suddenly everything looks a lot prettier. It’s untitled, but there’s Subscene for that.

What would we do without pirates? Watch Netflix?

It’s odd that it’s not currently legally available:

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”.

Or perhaps not.

I’m amazed that all the liqueurs for Widow’s Kiss hadn’t expired, but they tasted fine.

And so did this cocktail. Very boozy, though.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.

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