Officially the third of Rohmer's Moral Tales — but filmed and released fourth, after La Collectionneuse, due to the earlier unavailability of star Jean-Louis Trintignant — this surprise art-house hit established Rohmer's international reputation, and earned Oscar nominations for Best Foreign-Language Film and Original Screenplay (in separate years, oddly enough). Trintignant is Jean-Louis, a conservative engineer and strict Catholic convinced he’ll marry a woman he sees in Church, but forced by wintry circumstance to spend an erotically-charged night with free-thinking divorcée Maud (Françoise Fabian). While she attempts to seduce him with witty, intelligent conversation, he struggles to remain true to his moral code. This talky, tantalizing, immensely-satisfying film displays Rohmer’s talents at their finest. Photographed in exquisite black-and-white by Nestor Almendros, it was shot (and is set) in Clermont-Ferrand in December. Each Moral Tale was filmed at the exact time and place in which its story is set.
"Achieves with elegance and eloquence the goals it has set for itself ... The film is beautifully played, that is, as written, which is almost as if it were music."New York Times | full review
"A delight ... A date movie with a touch of class."The Guardian | full review