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France, 1973 (MIFF 1975)

Director: Maurice Pialat

The Mouth Wide Open received enthusiastic reviews when it was screened privately during last year's festival at Cannes. It is the third feature film from Maurice Pialat, following Naked Childhood (about a young orphan) and We Will Not Brow Old Together (about the break-up of a marriage). The Mouth Wide Open takes on the theme of death. A 50 year old woman, played by Monique Melinand, is dying of cancer in a small town in the Auvergne. We first see her receiving cobalt treatment; then she talks to her son, Philippe, who is distressed at his mother's illness, but finds distraction in the company of prostitutes. His wife, Nathalie, can now find nothing consoling to say to her mother-in-law, after years of suspicion and coolness between them.

The family continues with their brittle cares and pleasures as they wait for Monique to die. For 35 years, she has been married to Roger, a womaniser and drunkard. Now he takes care of her while he runs his small shop and flirts with his customers. He considers taking another wife. Eventually Monique slips into unconsciousness, believing she will recover; and each of the survivors finds himself alone.

See also...


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The controversial winner of last year's top prize at Cannes, the Palme d'Or for Best Film, Maurice Pialat courts critical and popular acrimony with each film intent on forging his own creative path ... More »

Spare Wheel

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Karina redefined herself as ‘auteur' with this feature, which saw her write, direct and star, as well as sing on the soundtrack. ... MIFF has obtained the only surviving print - recently restored ... More »

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