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film

The New York Film Festival, My Nuit Chez Maud, Une Femme Douce, The Epic That Never Was, and Pierre and Paul

In the type of multi-sensation circus that is the New York Film Festival, it is difficult to pin down the precise intellectual tone and incredible grace of Eric Rohmer’s Ma Nuit Chez Maud. What makes it so special is that it’s involved with a whole stratum of European culture that’s totally ignored in films: the intellectual Catholic living in the provinces. Constructed on the encounters of a single person in a new town, its pleasure comes from specificity: of time (Christmas), locale (a bustling job-prosperous town of narrow streets), geography (a wintry, sparse landscape), cast (an unimposing man leading a deftly ordered life meets a bristlingly alert charmer who seizes opportunities and is a hard loser when they dissolve; these two are brought together by an interesting old friend whose specialty is conversational fencing). The most important specific is that the movie is centered on

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