Une Femme Est Une Femme (1961)

I kind of sit on the fence with Jean-Luc Godard. Part of me loves the avant-guard director for his creativity, and part of me hates him for the resulting pretentions. Despite my aversion to some of his works, many of which are considered masterpieces, I appreciate what he is trying to do. I like the messages, just often not the messenger. Godard is someone who tirelessly continues to flaunt convention and try something new. He is the ultimate cinematic innovator. Many of his films will leave you scratching your head at the end, not entirely sure what to make of the previous 90 minutes, but some will tickle you pink with zest and inspiration. Obviously, Breathless is a good place to start. Maybe you've seen that, and then watched some others (Pierrot le fou, Le Mepris) that you aren't really sure about.  Now you should watch Une Femme Est Une Femme.

This is my absolute favorite Godard Film! It's his first time using colour widescreen film, and of course, he goes to town with it. The colours are beautiful, and the compositions are pleasureable, and the accompanying story is surprisingly easy to follow. Angela (Anna Karina) wants to have a baby, but her husband Emile (Jean-Claude Brialy) doesn't. So she goes to Emile's best friend, Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo). This is Godard's homage to American musicals from the studio era. Though in typical Godardian fashion, he eliminates a lot of the actual music! Instead of doing huge musical numbers, Godard has his actors actually singing on screen, as opposed to lip-synching a playback of some pre-recorded track. It's kind of unsettling, but it works. And the movie is so playful! And funny! It's not as dry as some of his other stuff, and it's all there on the screen, so it's very easy to digest. It's arguably his most accessible film.

Here now, is a trailer for the film. It's less interesting as a trailer for the film, but is an brief description (by Godard himself) of the filmmaker's method.

If you want a taste of the movie, watch this! It's probably my favorite part, and actually one of the first scenes I think of when I think of this film. I'm so glad I was able to find it so easily on YouTube! (Update: Since finding this, I've probably watched this YouTube clip twenty times! So good!)

And just for fun, here's another. This is another great scene that shows the playfulness of the whole thing. If you enjoy this then definitely see the whole film. And I love how they carry their one huge lamp around the apartment.

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