Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
Original title: Une Femme Est Une Femme
Italy/France, 1961. Euro International Film, Rome Paris Films. Screenplay by Jean-Luc Godard, based on a story by Genevieve Cluny. Cinematography by Raoul Coutard. Produced by Georges de Beauregard, Carlo Ponti. Music by Michel Legrand. Production Design by Bernard Evein. Costume Design by Jacqueline Moreau. Film Editing by Agnes Guillemot, Lila Herman.
Anna Karina is gorgeous as an exotic dancer who is shacked up with her boyfriend (Jean-Claude Brialy) and longs to have a baby with him. He resists the idea, pushing her towards having a child with his best friend (Jean-Paul Belmondo) instead. The plot plays out against beautifully bright and colourful backdrops with the odd spurt of music blaring from the speakers without sense or continuity in Godard’s typically rebellious style.
The auteur defined this film as a neo-realist musical, but it doesn’t really include enough performance of music to qualify it as such (even if Michel Legrand’s score is so highly energetic that it practically feels like it’s being sung). It is, however, a pleasure to see Godard’s deceptively natural dialogue and performances combined with the kind of candy-coloured images that one is used to getting from Jacques Demy.
The actors are at their most vital and beautiful, and the whole experience is far too short to be a nuisance for all its randomness.
The Criterion Collection: #238
Berlin Film Festival Award: Best Actress (Anna Karina); Extraordinary Jury Prize