Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Woman is a Woman (1961, Jean Luc Godard)

"Angela,a striptease artist, wants to have a baby and tries to persuade her boyfriend Emile to go along with the idea"

On the Blockbuster Online sleeve this DVD came in the sleeve said "This being a Godard film, the straightforward story serves as a framework for improvisation and stylistic experimentation, allowing for odd interludes and unexpected images." I thought to myself when I read this "well of course but it will still be great" I was very,very,very wrong.

A Woman is a Woman is just that, an experiment in style and with the limits of Cinema itself. Of course with the films I have seen so far this style is no surprise to me. I was expecting this and this is the reason why I expected to like it to some degree. In the films that I have seen from Godard I love the way he is playful with the images he presents. I love that he is telling you a straight story and out of nowhere comes a surprise that creates a great moment in the film and in your mind.

Everyone always cites the cafe dance scene in Band of Outsiders as a prime example of this. I would agree and I do think it deserves the high regard it gets among film buffs. Now let me explain why, the dance in Band of Outsiders is so great because although it is playful and it comes out of nowhere it really does add a lot to the story. As the two men and the lady are dancing we hear the music cut off and a narrator come over. He describes what each character is truly feeling as they look like they are having fun and dancing in a cafe. This small element makes you think from then on what the character are really thinking as they walk along and talk to eachother for the rest of the film. It's that simple, add a lot of depth you don't see and then take it away, the viewer will then add in the depth himself. This is some great stuff and is one of the many reasons why I love Band of Outsiders.

I use this example that way I have basis for why I didn't like A Woman is a Woman. Godard in this film misses the ball badly. He creates a series of playful scenes that test the boundaries of cinema meanwhile linking them all up to a very shallow storyline that is involved with shallow characters. The reason I believe the story and the characters turn out shallow is because of all these playful scenes because this is all we get every 2 minutes, playful scenes. They lack depth, they lack a reason to happen, and they even lack playfulness. They become annoying very fast,

When a character is walking down a street and the musical score and sound mix keeps on cutting off every couple of seconds you really gotta ask yourself "what am I watching?" Is this supposed to serve a purpose? Not really. Is this supposed to leave me going "wow! This is brilliant!" I guess so but it really doesn't. Or when there is a montage of chracters doing silly poses am I supposed to go "awww this is silly!" or "aww this is cute!" I really dont know. I was too busy cringing.

There is not much more to say about A Woman is a Woman. It's not much of a film as it is just a series of scenes that are trying to be cute and memorable every couple of seconds. Some people find the film to be just that meanwhile others don't. I now belong to the later group.

- C-

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