Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Viewing Notes: Une Femme Est Une Femme (A Woman Is A Woman)


For relevant film information, go here.

A short summary: Anna Karina plays herself. She struggles to choose between two men--her boyfriend and Jean-Paul Belmondo (best known to me as the star of Godard's earlier Breathless). She's also a stripper. And she wants a baby. But neither of those facts matter, because the movie has no real plot. Essentially it's just Anna Karina. If you think she's delightful, you will at least not hate this. If you don't think she's delightful--at least a little--you are either formed entirely of cobalt, or you are grouchier than even me. Which is no mean feat.

If you've never seen Anna Karina in anything, you should. I'd suggest Vivre Sa Vie, my favorite Karina-Godard collaboration. She's like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany's but sexier and quoting Sartre. Stylish and iconic she represents, I think, the Platonic ideal of a French woman. Whatever that means.

Anyway, back to A Woman Is A Woman.

Here are my (drumroll for name of Feature): VIEWING NOTES.

-Exuberant and joyful but so intent on its whimsy it allows story and other long-term concerns to languish. Wonderful in bursts, exhausting as a whole.

-Scenes of people walking through Paris are filled with faces, strange juxtapositions of architecture, random and careless beauty. Godard makes Paris a character in all his films. Often it's the best one.

-Thought about France: Everything is subsumed by STYLE. All acts are are part of a look, an appearance, an attitude. (Based on a scene in which the boyfriend keeps showily opening, but not reading, a Communist newspaper.)

-A movie in which characters repeatedly say: "Men are ___. Women are ___." A formulation that should be used no more than once per day.

-In a similar vein: this is typical dialogue: "Is this a tragedy or a comedy?" "You never know with women." Sounds awesome! Makes not much sense.

-Many theatrical effects in search of an emotion to sustain or require them. Example: A scene in which the boyfriend and wife speak/fight by showing each other words on books which say their thoughts. ("Monster.")

-A great idea: two lovers who are always shown kissing outside Anna's apartment. We never see their faces. They never move. Backs to us.

-Anna Karina: artist first, actress second. That's not an insult.

-What I like most about Godard is this: he's not afraid of joy.