I can forgive the stereotyping of culture, race, and sexual and/or gender orientation; the film is of its time, and has not aged well in some respects. I can forgive the ripoff of Last Tango in Paris...nihilism (buggery optional) was a hallmark of the mid-1970s. One thing I cannot forgive is the 'vanity cinema' directing of singer/actor Serge Gainsbourg. His wife Jane Birkin's performance is the only reason to watch.
First, bright, brilliant color. Second, loud lively music, brings back an earlier time. Third, desolate, barren terrain. Finally, Jane Birkin, androgynous. A madcap Fassbinder friendly romp thru no place any of us wants to witness. And think, only 42 years distant. IMAGINATIVE!!!
I responded to this film visually as much as anything, reveling in the layers of color, texture, shape and light. I need to look up what other films this cinematographer has worked on. The mood set by subtle scenes - Jane looking out the spattered window with only birdsong on the soundtrack, for example - gave breathing space to a story rife with the tensions that so often accompany gender role reversal.
Sometimes, you just get a little sick of the violence towards naked women. Spoiler: Joe wants his lover to be jealous of her, and he is so jealous that he tries to kill her. Joe stops him, because he has made his point and now he discards her. I expected more from Serge.