Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two or Three Things I know About Her

  I think the beginning scene with introducing Juliette as actress, and as a person within a story sets the stage of showing the two different sides to this character.  In one way she is a housewife, and mother of two, and on the other side she is a prostitute who spends her extra cash on clothes, booze, and cafes.  Keeping with this double theme, we see a lot of construction and Oil company signs, and then we go to inner workings of an older city with; cafes, small clothing boutiques, and corner shops.  
  One of the two most memorable, and eye-catching scenes is when we see Juliette trying to hit on a man in order to have him pick her up ($$) inside of a cafe, and there is an overhead shot of espresso and it's creme swirling around.  It's interesting, and is beautifully shot.  The other scene of both Juliette and her other hooker friend, when they go to an American john who is overly patriotically portrayed.  He's wearing a U.S. flag shirt, has a stripped towel and walks into a bathroom that is dark blue with spots on the walls (which give a resemblance to the flag).  Then in order for him to get off, he has the woman put on airline bags on their heads, and walk around.  I thought maybe that Godard was making a statement that America is commercially, and materialistically driven and are blind to the world (like in having bags over our heads).  Not sure if this was the case, but knowing Godard's past statements on the subjects, I thought it might have a connection.
  Juliette is seen to be pretty materialistic in her own right, you see her drop her kid off at  a brothel and leave him with an old man.  Then you see her shopping for a dress,  and off to a bar.  You want to feel bad for her, and her family for putting her in the situation of having to prostitute but then you see her spending the money on herself.  Not to mention abandoning her kid with a stranger.
  I felt a little cheated in the end, because i thought there was going to be something big that happens.  Or a resolution to the families problems, but there isn't.  Not to say that there weren't things to learn and see, but i just felt like Godard was building up to something big, but it just ended.  Which is very French New Wave.

A Woman Is A Woman

  With the exception of Godard's Breathless, I found this film to be one of his most innovative.  Angela a stripper, her boyfriend a Cyclist, and his best friend Alfred.  The film plays between a playful comedy/musical, and a drama.  Although in the film Alfred calls it a comedy and tragedy.  Angela is Emile's live in girlfriend who is obsessed with getting pregnant. Angela has even taken a fertility test saying that she is ovulating, and that this would be the best time to get pregnant. She has tried pleading with him, and even threatening him that she will sleep with just about anyone in order to have a baby.  He is not ready and fights her on the subject.  They both go out, and try to make the other jealous.   

   She gets so desperate she turns to his best friend Alfred, who she knows has feelings for her.  After her seeing Alfred behind Emiles' back she sleeps with him, she thinks that maybe they both love each other but soon realizes that he just lusts after her, and she is just using him.  After, she decides to tell Emile what she has done, and expresses that she loves him and no one else and that she's sorry.  He seems upset, but believes her because he knows how desperate she had been to have a child.  They decide to sleep with each other right away to ensure that she's pregnant and to say it would be his.
  The movie uses music, and a play like comedy style to keep you from seeing the more serious nature of the story.  Angela has cheated on her live-in boyfriend with his best friend, for her own selfish need.  It's interesting to note that Godard plays with this notion that Angela hates the idea of modern woman, who are selfish, don't cook dinner, want careers, and hold off on having families.  And yet she herself has a job as a stripper, burns dinners, and seems just as selfish by wanting a family without Emile's consent.  She herself is a modern woman, but disguises it with this notion of her being domesticated.  
  It's interesting how Godard shoots some scenes at Angela's work by creating this magical arch, that once walked through changes your clothes instantly.  And the use of color-lighting on Angela's face for one of the final scenes in her heartfelt song close-up.  
There was a couple of scenes that stuck out more, as French Newave'ish.  Like when Godard shot a couple of scenes with Angela and Alfred while they were  hanging out on the street as they posed.  The other is when Angela and Emile have a fight in the bedroom, and use books in order to tell the other how they're feeling.  The beginning also shows the actors addressing the camera, as if they're knowingly acting in front of an audience.