Existentialism, Religion And Morality With Maud

Existentialism, Religion And Morality With Maud

Static Mass Rating: 5/5

Release Date: Oct 11th, 2010
Certificate: U
Running Time: 105 minutes

Director: Eric Rohmer

Cast: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Francoise Fabian, Marie-Christine Barrault, Antoine Vitez, Leonide Kogan, Guy Leger, Anne Dubot

Language: French with English subtitles

Eric Rohmer’s Academy Award® nominated morality tale draws on 17th Century French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal and his famous Wager on the existence of God.

At church one day, Jean-Luis sees the woman whom he knows he will marry one day, the beautiful, blond Francoise. During a night out with a friend, he introduces him to Maud, but as it begins to snow heavily outside, Maud invites him to stay the night as she would enjoy the bedside company. As Maud changes into a sailor’s shirt and hops into bed, Jean-Luis wraps himself up with a blanket over his clothes and settles on a sofa. While it’s cold, she welcomes him to her bed as they continue their talk on religion and morality.

It’s not unlike the conversations we’ve all had at some point. A drink will always lead to philosophising of some sort. What’s interesting to see is how Jean-Luis’ views are challenged and the effect it has on him. Drawing on the 17th Century French philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal and his famous Wager which dictates that even though the existence of God cannot be proved, one ought to wager as though God exists because there is nothing to lose by doing so. The argument can be found in his book Pensées, published in 1660.

“If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is.”
- Blaise Pascal, Pensées

In his book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins argues for “anti-Pascal wager”, citing the following reason:

“Suppose we grant that there is indeed some small chance that god exists. Nevertheless, it could be said that you will lead a better, fuller life if you bet on his not existing, than if you bet on his existing and therefore squander your precious time on worshipping him, sacrificing to him, fighting and dying for him, etc.”
- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

The film works very well with its contrasting elements. Shot in several locations including Clermont-Ferrand, France; the snowy white background together with the Cathedral’s distinctive black lava towers are as contrasting as Jean-Luis and Maud’s views on life, ethics, morality and religion. Together they form a unique picture influenced by the rise of modern French Philosophy and this is probably one of the reasons the film has gone on to become an international classic.


  • Discussion on Pascal
  • Theatrical trailer

Rohmer, a former schoolteacher, is known as one of the filmmakers in the post-war New Wave cinema era. My Night With Maud was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film® and Best Original Screenplay® at the 42nd and 43rd Academy Awards® and was selected for 1969 Cannes Film Festival.

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