Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Une Femme Est Une Femme" (Jean-Luc Godard, 1961)

The second feature film of Jean-Luc Godard's oeuvre is also his first film shot in color. It is both an experiment in style and a tribute to the American musical. At the very beginning, as words - such as "EASTMANCOLOR", "GODARD", "MUSICAL", and "CINEMA" - flash on the screen for just a moment each, we are fully aware that we're in for something we have never seen before. As our first scene begins, we - for the first time in any Godard film - see the beauty that is Anna Karina. Anna Karina's character Angela roams the streets of France before finally arriving at the place she works, a strip club. The main problem for Karina's character in "Une Femme Est Une Femme" (a.k.a. "A Woman Is a Woman") is that her love, Emile (Jean-Claude Brialy), refuses to have a child - she, of course, wants one.

The reason I love "Une Femme Est Une Femme" so much is probably because of its energetic spirit. It feels like the cast and crew had a fun time making it, and - as a result - I had a fun time watching it. It is a very fast-paced and short (only a mere 84 minutes or so) film that goes by so quickly that I actually wanted it to last longer. Also it is a cinephile's treat with numerous pop culture references (e.g. Belmondo's character asking Jeanne Moreau how "Jules et Jim" is doing).

This is possibly the most underrated Godard film I've seen. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Godard or who just enjoys the cinema. It has a little bit of everything - it's funny, musical, sad, cinematic, romantic. To sum it up, it is a masterpiece - in every sense of the word.

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