MovieChat Forums > A Woman Is a Woman (1961) Discussion > In this topic I vent on how I don't like...

In this topic I vent on how I don't like this movie.

So don't read it if you're just going to get annoyed with it. I know I get annoyed when I see movies I love being derided. But I feel impelled to get my anger down in words. You may feel the same way and we'll have solidarity.

Yes, it is one of those topics by someone that shouldn't have bothered posting. One of those topics by some random idiot that is too stupid to understand the film that is quite clearly a sensational work of art.

I'm not a philistine. Far from it. I am not 12 (or 20 or 25 even). I like Fellini and Bergman! (proving that I am able to appreciate good films by real directors).

Une femme est une femme is, in my opinion, i.e. *I* think, a load of crap. It is:

Intensely irritating
Trying too hard
Self-consciously zany (as if zany wasn't bad enough).

It has no right to be any of those things. It is a film by someone who believed his own hype following earlier successes. I AM a genius after all! I think I'll poop out some crap without trying as I am unable to make anything that isn't brilliant, it's just who I am. That's meant to be Goddard speaking, I haven't had any success, though look forward to being changed into a lazy idiot like Goddard once it arrives.

This film should be called 'Oh! Aren't we clever!'.

It takes A LOT for me to not watch a movie or read a book through to the end. I will knuckle down and plough through almost anything in the name of being able to hold my head up high and say "I have seen" or "I have read". I HAD to turn this film off at 41 minutes as I was beginning to get physically angry and uncomfortable at the sight of these arrogant people flouncing around, convinced they were on the cutting edge of all human achievement.

Insufferable, unbearable, and maddening.

I apologise.


If this one got you mad, dont EVER watch Pierrot le fou.


This film should be called 'Oh! Aren't we clever!'

And God forbid a film tries to be clever, right!


You just said it yourself: It 'tries' to be clever. That's the whole point, it just isn't.

"The willow sees the heron's image upside down" from 'Sans Soleil'



I loved every minute of it!


No need for all the backgound about yourself. Plain and simple, this film sucks.


With Goddard films, it all depends on the mood you're in. I liked it, but I can see that, if I watched it at another time, I wouldn't.

I actually thought it was pretty clever, though I can see why one would get annoyed with Anna Karina's character. If we are to interpret from the title that this is a manifesto on women, than it's pretty misogynistic. She is a silly, shallow little twit, and I kept thinking that the surprise entrance of those guys from Funny Games would have added some much needed spice to the movie.

On the other hand, I liked the camera work and also the development of the scenes. From a sheer plot point of view, the film could easily have been a straight forward melodrama (and much, much worse).



Well, I'm not quite as harsh on the movie, but from the bloody months that I've spent studying Godard, he seems like quite a pretentious fellow. The film itself is not as full of forced cleverness, but rather knowingly meaningless tricks and shots. I, for one, can't appreciate the numerous films that the French New Wave gave birth to just to show how film can capture that which has no meaning.

In Une Femme est Une Femme, for example, Godard argues that he managed to capture the real, the natural, all the while playing with unnatural and far too prevalent colors like a giddy child. He takes such a juxtaposition and attempts to say they don't contradict each other, but rather both work toward one goal. It's simply not true; if it is, I await any explanation and am willing to accept one. I just do not see how his ideas work in this film by any standard of basic logic (or why he felt the need to exemplify his ideas in so many similar films in the first place).


>>>>I just do not see how his ideas work in this film by any standard of basic logic<<<

It's a send-up of a classic Hollywood romantic comedy, something that in another time would play it straight and have Fredrich March, Claudette Colbert, and Franchot Tone in it. It "works" in that the elements of the film are united to this purpose of parody, which is a very simple logic.

Of course that you didn't enjoy the joke is your privilege, but you seem to be saying there is no joke at all, that nothing in the film even attempts satire in any manner an audience could identify. This makes you either stupid, which I do not believe, or you are playing coy with your readers as to your true understanding. My theory is that you get it, you see the basic logic, but you just don't like it so you claim it's not there.

Forgive me for being reactionary to a reactionary, but I see playing coy like this with people is itself a type of pretentiousness, a "showing off" of your cleverness. If you didn't see it, it can't be there. Pretentious is bad, right? Which is an attitude I find endemic to every film student who ever lived, they're all smarter than the masters right up until the day they turn into Peter Bogdanovich - if they're lucky. After all, you are cleverer than Godard and the whole French New Wave, which is why the months studying him were so "bloody", right?

Of course I'm being pretentious right now, and admit it, if you're reading this right now you're thinking the very pretentiousness of my deliberate pretentiousness makes all that I say moot as criticism. Perhaps so, and perhaps we can do the reactionary tango some more. But I'm not trying to insult anyone, indeed I responded because I think you're smart enough to understand the point that perhaps "pretentious" is not a valid criticism of art or commentary. It is unfair to apply that label to someone like Godard who tries so hard, and unnecessary to apply it to Peter Bogdanovich who achieves so little. It speaks more about what the audience brings to a work rather than what they saw there. You see, at some point discussion of content has to be about content, not about attitudes toward content.

True criticism is about not treating "so what?" as a rhetorical question.


I think you misunderstood my use of the word 'pretentious'. I know that, on the internet and especially on the boards of Godard, you can only bear coming across the term for so long before simply disregarding it for a throwaway gimmick of a critique. I have to admit that, to a degree, I did misuse the word - I believe that Godard does have talent and a vast knowledge of film, so rather than claiming he has no ideas or wits to begin with, I think that the way he puts those ideas to work are simply unnecessary.

Now, with that out of the way, I will respond.

I am aware that Une Femme est une Femme is intended to satirize and work around the ideas of the Hollywood romantic comedy (and the popular musical), and it conveys that idea quite clearly within the first minutes. However, an egregiously playful color palette or uncannily reference-filled dialogue, for example, do not contribute towards achieving that goal. As Bordwell puts it (and yes, I await the dreaded pretentious comment for this): 'Godard raises, as does no other director, the possibility of a sheerly capricious or arbitrary use of technique'.

Hence my issue stays within the limits of New Wave ideology in that there is an idea, or even an ideology, underneath the films that is usually efficiently expressed, but it's never a message enough to carry a whole feature length film. Trust me, without playing coy, I grasp the methods of the New Wave by now, but I still do not understand why an arbitrary use of technique, an intentionally loosely woven narrative and dialogue that consists more of references than human communication are worthy of a whole cinematic movement. I might expand on this thought further next time as I still feel I'm not expressing myself to the extent I wish to.

I will never say that Godard is a bad film-maker, not at all. All I am is confused about why a film like Masculin Féminin (that boasts a Metascore of 92) can be considered an amazing film when a part of it is simply arbitrary and a majority of it will be lost on eighty percent of the people who view it. The means to the goal just don't add up to me. I don't want to be obligated to have a film education and a wider grasp of general culture than I currently do simply to be able to understand a film, especially when at any moment I could find out that viewer comprehension is not necessary at all. My confusion fuels my interest in the New Wave, I keep reading and watching more about the era just hoping to finally pinpoint what exactly - and I mean exactly - is the meaning behind all of it.

PS. Not resorting to any underhanded insults, I do have to say that I took a bit of offense in your suggestion that I would think of myself as smarter than Godard and the New Wave. Further your point by any means (although I believe our stances are not budging), but don't use straw men to make me seem more arrogant or self-satisfied. I don't know whether that was intentional or not, but the comment certainly wasn't appreciated.


Boy, you really hit the nail on the head!

This film is pretentious, its characters are fickle and their dilemmas uninteresting (not to mention unrealistic), and its cinematic techniques are employed in a random fashion.

It's a bad Hollywood musical done up like an experimental film that thinks it's far more witty and charming than it actually is.


I'm with you my man. I plowed through it to the end it it just made the vomit that much thicker. Why I continue to keep giving Godard a chance is beyond me. I see him and Quentin Tarantino as the same; tons of talent, but used in the wrong ways.

Back to this film though - It's no wonder that Joseph-Gorden Levitt listed this as one of his favorite films, I can see him and Zooey Deshajnjsnvs jerk one another off acting like the characters of this film - Oh wait, that was 500 Days of Summer.


My sentiments exactly.


I could see the influence of this film on 500 Days of Summer also. But I thought 500 Days was more influenced by Annie Hall, which is IMHO much better than a woman is a woman. Godard tries too hard to mine some laughs with the characters talking gibberish or sly asides. I think people give the movie too much credit for being something new, ignoring things like coherent dialogue. Annie Hall and 500 Days have fun, imaginative film-making with actual story at least some ideas that we can relate to.