Jean Eustache’s first international success uses an obsessive, talkative ménage à trois—Jean-Pierre Léaud, Bernadette Lafont, and Françoise Lebrun—as the jumping-off point for an intense exploration of sexual politics among liberated yet alienated moderns. The Mother and the Whore abounds with references and allusions to 15 years of New Wave images and language—the rich ground of movies about movies—while documenting the mix of strategies and fictions that lovers and other strangers use to make contract and to armor themselves. Léaud here finds one of his greatest, most intimate roles: of a man caught between laughter and depression, between two women, between two ages, who has learned everything about life (including how to make a bed) at the cinema. Print courtesy of the Institut Français.