With A Woman Is a Woman (Une femme est une femme), compulsively innovative director Jean-Luc Godard presents “a neorealist musical—that is, a contradiction in terms.” Featuring French superstars Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Jean-Claude Brialy at their peak of popularity, A Woman Is a Woman is a sly, playful tribute to—and interrogation of—the American musical comedy, showcasing Godard’s signature wit and intellectual acumen. The film tells the story of exotic dancer Angéla (Karina) as she attempts to have a child with her unwilling lover Émile (Brialy). In the process, she finds herself torn between him and his best friend Alfred (Belmondo). A dizzying compendium of color, humor, and the music of renowned composer Michel Legrand, A Woman Is a Woman finds the young Godard at his warmest and most accessible, reveling in and scrutinizing the mechanics of his great obsession: the cinema. —The Criterion Collection
The lynchpin of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard was arguably the most influential filmmaker of the postwar era. Beginning with his groundbreaking 1959 feature debut A Bout de Souffle, Godard revolutionized the motion picture form, freeing the medium from the shackles of its long-accepted cinematic language by rewriting the rules of narrative, continuity, sound, and camera work. Later in his career, he also challenged the common means of feature production, distribution, and exhibition, all in an effort to subvert the conventions of the Hollywood formula to create a new kind of film.
Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children. After receiving his primary education in Nyon, Switzerland – during World War II, he became a naturalized Swiss citizen – he studied ethnology at the Sorbonne, but spent the vast majority of his days at the Cine-Club du Quartier Latin, where he first met fellow film fanatics Francois Truffaut and Jacques Rivette. In May… read more
The New Wave distilled, in its bursting colours, glib dialogue, impetuous soundtrack and overt genre homage - the direct embodiment of a whirlwind romance, much less melodrama. As a younger viewer, such quirks were nothing but charming; now, they’re all but jarring, shown to be erratic in their endless cheek. Alternatively, it’s more experimental than first figured, but next to Breathless’ gritty pulp fiction, A Woman Is a Woman’s sparkling joie de vivre holds less weight in supporting its substance, or indeed, rationalising its incessant slightness.
"Nothing's more beautiful than a woman in tears. We should boycott women who don't cry."
A smorgasbord of Godard posters on occasion of a major retrospective in New York.
Four clips from the cinema of cabaret: Chabrol, Godard, Sternerg, Sirk.
I’ve heard several sources refer to A Woman is a Woman as the warmest, most accessible film in Godard’s body of work, and I’m not sure why. Yes, it’s less discursive, academic, and political… read review