“We must reckon with the possibility that something in the nature of the sexual instinct itself is unfavorable to the realization of complete satisfaction.” -Sigmund Freud

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A series on love.

LA MAMAN ET LA PUTAIN (dir. Jean Eustache, 1973)

WHEN: 6.30pm, Monday 22 March 2010

WHERE: Room 471, 20 Cooper Square (Bowery and East 5th)

ALL WELCOME. Refreshments – stiff, copious – provided.

“If only people could see once and for all that screwing is shit. That there is only one really beautiful thing – screwing because you love each other so much that you want to make a child that is like us and that otherwise it’s just sordid … You must only screw if you’re really in love.”

“The day I stop suffering, I’ll have become someone else.”

LA MAMAN ET LA PUTAIN (THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE) is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of post-Nouvelle Vague French cinema. It stars Jean Pierre Leaud (from Truffaut’s ‘Antoine Doinel Cycle’) as Alexandre, a feckless womanizer whose chief preoccupations appear to be bellyaching, café-hopping and sleeping around, who embarks upon a ménage a trois with a nurse (Francoise Lebrun) and an older dress-shop owner Marie (Bernadette Lafont). Apparently constructed from real-life conversations, this is both a brilliant example of talk cinema, and a keen-eyed, complacency-free stocktaking of the achievements and disappointments of May 1968. It’s also an unforgettable examination – cold, exasperating, ruthlessly truthful – of human desire.

For many years, LA MAMAN ET LA PUTAIN, which draws on Eustache’s own relationship with Lebrun, has been unavailable on English-language VHS or DVD. Eustache was one of the most restless, searching filmmakers of his generation who, after many years of alcohol-devotion, killed himself in 1981. In recent years his works, both fiction and non-fiction, have been undergoing critical reappraisal. Broken Flowers (2005), by Jim Jarmusch, was dedicated to him.

LA MAMAN ET LA PUTAIN will be presented by Dan Sallitt. Former film critic of the L.A. Reader, he is the director of the feature films ‘Honeymoon’ (1998) and ‘All The Ships At Sea’ (2004). He blogs at Thanks For The Use Of The Hall.

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