Friday, June 1, 2007
While I have a great admiration for Jean-Luc Godard's post WEEKEND films I have to admit that my favorites still remain his early work from the period of 59-66. His 1961 film UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME (A WOMAN IS A WOMAN) is one his greatest and most endearing works. A comedy and musical the way that only Godard could have created, UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME succeeds so incredibly well due in no small part to the cast Godard assembled for it.
Watching Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina and Jean-Claude Brialy together in this film is like watching some sort of awe inspiring mystical event. There is something magical about how well these three work together, and in how much Godard's camera loves them. UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME sometimes is considered lesser Godard but to me it is one of the films that symbolizes the inventiveness and importance of the French New Wave the best.
Photographed in eye-popping color by Raoul Coutard and set to the lovely music of Michel Legrand, UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME is one of the most beautiful films Godard ever shot. The recent Criterion disc of it brings out all of the amzing colors and Godard's meticulous widescreen framing beautifully. For years this film was an eyesore in it's home video incarnations but the Criterion dvd is splendid and a must for all film fans.
There is an overload of Godard studies by people much more qualified than I and this film has certainly been picked apart nearly to death so I won't attempt to do it again here. I will just say that watching the three of these actors in this film reminds me of why I fell in love with cinema in the first place. I can still recall the overwhelming feeling this movie gave me the first time I saw it as a teenager. It's one of a handful of films that really changed the way I watched and appreciated films.
Godard's first color film remains, over 45 years after its release, one of the reasons God didn't make the world in black and white.