Une Femme Est Une Femme: Is This a Tragedy or a Comedy?

The next film on our list is Une Femme Est Une Femme, or A Woman is a Woman.  This is a French New Wave film from 1961, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, which means that it is clever, smug, and artsy.

This film is the story of a stripper who suddenly decides that she desperately wants a baby.  Her boyfriend Emile is reluctant, saying that they have plenty of time, while their friend Alfred is more than happy to oblige her with babymaking.  Arguments and random musical interludes ensue.

Random Musings:

  • I'm sorry, call me a cynic, but this little gadget to determine fertility does not seem to operate using scientifically sound principles.

  • 1961: A man is getting all worked up listening to Real vs Barca.  Some things never change, do they?

  • Did they seriously just stop what they were doing to bow to the audience?  What an odd film.  And I'm going to miss that fourth wall.

  • Why do they spend so much time and energy fighting each other?  It's tiring me out just watching them.

  • This woman's not the best at bargaining.  She basically just tried, "I'll make you boiled eggs if you father my child."

  • "Emile, I've just realized something.  You get on my nerves!" THANK YOU I HAVE BEEN SHOUTING THIS AT THE SCREEN FOR LITERALLY THE ENTIRE MOVIE!

  • "Don't you understand plain English?" ... ... while they're speaking French.  Somebody fell asleep at the subtitles.

I'm definitely feeling that music is key here.  There are times when it completely drowns out the dialogue, and then the only time you actually expect music (when a character is singing), there's nothing.  I know there is a point to the intrusive score, but I'm afraid I'm not quite clever enough to understand it.  This sums up most of my feelings about French New Wave cinema.  Is this playing with the idea of American musicals, where people break out into song and dance at the slightest provocation?  Possibly.
This film is the ultimate expression of style over substance.  Let's have no illusions about this: Godard is devoting screen time to two people fighting over how to pronounce their r's, while accompanied by a grand musical score.  These people talk a lot, but not really about anything important.  In a lot of ways it resembles the idea of the Pinter silence, where people chat so much and so superficially that their actual conversation is devoid of meaning, and serves to hide what the characters want to or perhaps should be talking about.

Is this film an acquired taste?  Abso-freaking-lutely.  It's like, I appreciate it for what it is, but I don't think I'm going to load this one up in my Netflix queue again anytime soon.  It's one of those movies where I feel experiencing it once is enough.

Thanks for reading, and come back next time!

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