Cinéphile

FILMS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.

UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME (1961)

A film by Jean-Luc Goddard.

Cast: Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jean-Paul Belmondo.

The movie stars Godard’s wife, Anna Karina, who was to achieve her own greatness in his next film. She wants to have a baby and when her boyfriend comes homes she drop the bomb shell on him. Angela Recamier is her name, and Jean-Claude Brialy plays Emile Recamier, but the movie strongly suggests they are not married. Nor does Emile want a baby, although his friend Alfred Lubitsch (Jean-Paul Belmondo) would be happy to impregnate her and so would I. The movie, which comes advertised as Godard’s tribute to the Hollywood musical, is not a musical, and indeed treats music with some contempt, filling the sound track with brief bursts of music that resemble traditional movie scoring, but then interrupting them arbitrarily. Angela is shown a photograph that Alfred claims shows Emile cheating on her with another woman. As she studies the photo, the movie cuts from her face to his face to the photo, and then again and again. Sometimes there is a little dialogue. The photo keeps reappearing on the screen. The effect is to suggest the way she becomes obsessed with the hurtful image and can’t stop thinking about it, and as a visual evocation of jealousy, it’s kind of brilliant. The movie is bright and lively and Goddard went on to make better one. As he goes along in his career he got better and better, Thank god for this. I like this one.

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