The Mother and the Whore
Written and directed by Jean Eustache
(the last of the bottom 200 from the list!)
So. Three + hour black and white seventies film from France about a guy with a wife and a girlfriend. And it’s talky. And Alexandre is freaking awful and annoying, pushing and pushing at Gilberte for the first half hour. He reminded me of so many impressed with their own intelligence guys I met at university. Like just because you can spout philosophy doesn’t mean every woman should sleep with you. This approach also feels very much like he’s the poster boy for the nasty culture of coercion that gets idolised as romance in the world but particularly in France. The problem is I don’t think this is meant to be off putting, I feel very much like this is Eustache’s mouthpiece for how awesome he is.
He literally explains the women’s lib movement to Veronika, who thinks it’s sad because if she loves a man she would want to bring him breakfast? Urgh, the seventies.
In some ways the movie is sort of brilliant, because you as the audience are forced to listen to Alexandre and his interminable monologues about his feelings or his beliefs. About how sad he is for no apparent reason. You become one of the people who has to sit there and nod along, just like the girls in the movie.
Is it a relief when a couple of hours into the movie other people start monologuing about random stuff? Not really. At least its not all the one guy but by this point the film had lost my interest. It’s a very long film and there really isn’t much of a storyline.
Does it make me love the people? I’m more inclined to love Veronika and Marie onmly because I feel for them having to listen to Alexandre all the time. I cannot stand him. He actually has the gall to say, while out with Veronika that he feels bored. All he has been doing is talking. Talk, talk talk talk talk while she meekly listens, and then he says he’s bored. FFS. Finallly he asks her some questions, and she has a lovely voice and I like it a lot. When they finally get to the point where Veronika, Marie and Alexandre are all in bed together he’s sulky and annoyed. Like… if you can’t handle this level of emotion you need to fucking sort your shit out.
Bechdel test: Yes, Veronika and Marie talk, first just to say hi to each other, mostly about Alexandre but also about Marie’s looks. Also it’s a French film so of course we see women naked from the waist up.
Veronika: I’m often in love. I get involved with people quickly, and forget quickly. People don’t matter.
State of Mind: Shipping Maria and Veronika ditching Alexandre and going to have a lovely life together. Glad it’s over, annoyed with men. Poor Marie. Yeah, I pretty much hated this movie and certainly will not be watching it again. I skipped ahead a few times, bored, and how is it 3 and a half hours I just. Ehhhhhhh. Why have Veronika denounce her own behaviour like that?? There is no love unless it’s for reproduction? Uuuurgh. Was Eustache a menanist? and What the fuck is that final scene??? bleeeeehhhh.