A Woman is a Woman (1961)


Screened on 35mm at IFC Center as part of the “Early Godard” winter film series.

Food: It was an 11:00 am Sunday morning movie, so delicious breakfast food and coffee was a non-negotiable. Intended on getting a breakfast burrito from a East Village Tex-Mex spot, but arrived only to remember that I had lost my debit card recently and it was cash only. Unable to get cash, I quickly headed to Starbucks and settled for a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich with a Vanilla Latte – which I poured into a Hydroflask. I have to say, it really hit the spot.

Film: A Woman is a Woman (Une femme est une femme) is an amalgamation of things: unconventional, experimental film-making, charming moments, philosophical dialogue and a lot of humor. Anna Karina, in quintessential sixties French fashion, works a perfectly tousled heavy banged hairdo and thick winged, blue shadowed eyeliner. In a most effortless way, she gives us a quirky and notable performance as a young stripper who decides she wants to have a baby, and proposes this to her young professional boyfriend, played by Jean-Claude Brialy. He strongly opposes this fantasy of hers, and they begin to fight, and even entertain the idea that his friend, Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo) impregnate her instead. The story line and dialogue are inherently silly, but the story is told in a self-aware, playful manner that works.

Being my first Jean-Luc Godard film, I was taken aback by his unusual style – sporadic use of music, cutting scene to scene in abrupt and obvious ways, and jumbled dialogue – but it does not take long to settle in and feel charmed.

As a final note, I want to mention that my favorite scene happens when the forefront couple are fighting, and go to bed decidedly “not speaking” and then continue to get up, turn on the lamb, waltz over to the bookshelf, and point to various book titles as a means of throwing insults. Clever and hilarious.

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