Jean-Luc Godard’s A Woman Is a Woman, along with his great My Life to Live, remains one of the director’s more accessible works. Never heavy-handed, the film defies genre-placement. This subversive musical celebrates female empowerment and takes sly jabs at Hollywood film conventions. Godard’s use of music is at its best here, not to be rivaled until the impeccable, metallic soundscape of Alphaville. Godard pokes fun at film tropes such as the inconsequential supporting players when two detectives inexplicably invade the home of Angela (Anna Karina) and her boyfriend Emile (Jan-Clause Brialy). The film’s absurd underpinnings are heightened by Emile’s need to ride around his apartment on a bicycle. When he refuses to impregnate her, Anna turns to Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo) to do the job. Godard is a man who loves women but has never really understood them though you’d never know it from watching A Woman Is a Woman. Angela’s emotional turmoil is flatteringly complimented by Godard’s formal yet airy compositions. Angela may be stubborn and irrational but she’s completely hellbent on self-actualization. Godard’s pastiche is self-consciously tongue-in-cheek, riddled with constant references to other films: Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player is mentioned during a game of charades and one character asks “how Jules and Jim is progressing.” Godard’s especially potent reference to Breathless is an act of self-love. A Woman Is a Woman, in the end, is less a film about the perils of romantic love as it is an act of love for the creation of film.
- Pathé Contemporary Films
- 84 min
- Jean-Luc Godard
- Jean-Luc Godard
- Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Claude Brialy, Marie Dubois, Ernest Menzer, Nicole Paquin
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