[critical] A Woman is a Woman

“Angela, you’re infamous. – No, she answers, I am a woman.” Impertinence that sums up this film. The story : the story of Angela who wants a child. But Emile does not. Alfred, who is in love with Angela, don’t say no. Angela who loves Emile refuses Alfred but believe Emile Alfred made him lose the head…


Release Date : 6 September 1961

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Film A woman is a woman

With Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Claude Brialy

Duration : 1h28min

Trailer :

Friday 8 March , day of the woman : for some it is the opportunity to recall the extraordinary evolution of the status of the woman from the XX century, while others are refurbishing the old stereotypes and incorporate them into the company’s current reports on women in the households or women who prefer their careers to the detriment of family life). Each in his own way appropriates this event which just serves to ask what is a woman ? And if the simplest answer and the most correct was : A woman is a woman.

The best way to mark this day is to see the woman through the screen of the part The cinema has given to see the woman in all possible ways, from all angles. Saying that she could dream and achieve in an infinite way. The woman in art is often seen by the artist, the man, the loving man, the unrighteous man, the man who eventually despise it. Godard says in Histoire(s) du cinema : ” I watch the film, it is men who filmed women. There is something very fatal in it. This is the story of the beauty in the painting as in literature has always been linked to women and not to men. “ Affirmation of gender of a provocative or proven fact ? The filmmakers have sublimated the woman, especially in the 50’s in Hollywood, when glamour was born.

Godard loves the actresses and the show throughout his career. The love of the filmmaker and is so strong that it merges with the love of the man : shortly after the release of A woman is a woman, Godard’s wife Anna Karina.

The story of A woman is a woman is simple and complicated, besides all the movie places itself at the service of this paradox, playing on the notes of tragedy and comedy. Anna Karina is Angela and she wants a child. This application is quickly explained, but what lies behind is not. Angela does not say the gist of it : she loves Emile. Emile, played by Jean-Claude Brialy, loves it as well, and it is unfortunately for Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo), also the case.

Take the spectator, to travel and then return abruptly to reality : such is the game of this film.

Lost between comedy and tragedy, the characters express their confusion. Angela confesses to the camera ” I don’t know if I should laugh or cry “ . Brialy, as out of his character, had the status of a narrator of a piece of theatre, and says ” I don’t know if this is a comedy or a tragedy but in any case it is a masterpiece “. Like the coming and going of the (new) wave, the film oscillates between moments of comedy and with all the springs that accompany it (play on words, repetitions, situation comedy, offsets…), and tragic, as is revealed in the scene of musical comedy. The time of the dream, a dream towards which tend the characters without being able to reach it : all the tragedy is emphasized. The moments of escapes are countered by sequences filmed as documentaries, where close-ups on the old men are falling back to the dream. Take the spectator, to travel and then return abruptly to reality : such is the game of this film. It is a cinema at the service of the magic, its humble creator, as shown in the scenes where the women are stripped by passing through a door : the magic of Méliès is celebrated .

Godard as a guide, will teach us the spectators to enjoy the cinema. It renews the film by drawing around the item is overlaid on literature, theatre, opera, song, film. The references are incorporated is intertwined to deliver a finished where everything flows naturally. How to express silence, and the impossible communication between the two characters ? Godard responds to a legendary stage where Angela and Emile mute, speak through books interposed. This process emphasizes the power of words and their importance. It also shows that Godard is in no case to take its spectator as a traitor, by the incommunicability of the protagonists is shown with evidence. Certainly his theatre destabilizes because it innovates and tries to spring them unpublished, to express things, but this is not a pretentious cinema ” nerd “.

Godard filmed Anna Karina in color, in blue, yellow, red, close-up, wide shot. For him she weeps, she sings. Then develops a reflection on the feminine beauty in the cinema and in art The beauty disgusts and fascinates her : Angela is cruel and beautiful. The filter of the red light on his face demonizes its beauty, as a power of gratification of men. The myth of beauty, bitter revisited : Godard and the smuggler which continues through the medium of film is the work of paul Eluard (especially in Defiance).

Many will not appreciate the portrayal of women made here : stripper who wants a child , does the cooking to her husband and reads Marie Claire. The film is nonetheless much more than these simple facts. The woman is complex, Godard does not deny that, and tries to capture it through his camera.

A film that has become a classic , to see no excuses, especially not that of the day of the woman ! And as Jean-Paul Belmondo suggested with humour in the film, he wouldn’t miss A Bout de Souffle and the work of Godard in general.

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