Monday, March 12, 2007

A Woman is a Woman

Une femme est une femme; Comedy/ Musical, France, 1961; D: Jean-Luc Godard, S: Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Braily, Jean-Paul Belmondo

Paris. The young Angela is working as a striptease girl in a bar and is often dreaming about musicals because she loves to sing. She really wants to have a baby, but when she announces her wish to her lover Emile he rejects her by saying that he is still not ready to be a father. Soon the couple enters into a huge argument, forcing Angela to ask her friend Alfred Lubitsch for advice, who is in love with her. She also has a little crush on him, but in the end she decides to go back to Emile and spend the night with him.

It's true that always conventional movie stories start becoming boring after a while. But it's also true that the plain unconventionality without a story as a basis also starts to become boring. The big stylish innovator Jean-Luc Godard always insisted at shooting unconventional films, but today a solid number of them seem outdated, artificial and fake. Among them is his (musical) comedy "A Woman is a Woman" which is so abstract and artificial that a lot of viewers will develop a nostalgia for the classic, clear narration from the movies of Wilder, Capra, Ford and others. But "Woman" is also pretty entertaining when the viewer gets used to it; in the opening shots, while Angela is walking on the street, the music in the background constantly mischievously suddenly shows up, only to equally suddenly gets turned of. A great idea is a scene in which Alfred wants to see the film "Breathless", and a few funny scenes (Angela puts a giant pillow under her shirt to try to imagine how it feels to be pregnant) and dialogues ("I'll pose you a question. If you answer "No", then you owe me 20 $. If you answer "Yes", then I owe you 20 $." - "All right. Ask me". - "Can you borrow me 20 $?") are real jewels in this good, but hermetic and cold achievement.


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