A Love Story is a Love Story

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

A Woman is a Woman is a simple movie with a certainly unique execution. The plot mainly concerns an exotic dancer named Angela and her relationship with her boyfriend Emile, which becomes rocky when Angela decides she wants to have a child.

The way the movie is presented is unique in that it is almost like a musical or a stage play. There is perky music in the background, the way the characters move are almost animated and non-realistic, and there are even numbers where the characters sing or dance. And yet something that the movie chooses to do during these scenes is that it randomly shuts off the music at certain parts of the film. I found it a bit weird to say the least, but I believe it may have been part of the movie’s underlying execution – despite all the singing, dancing, and music, it is not a musical, it is about this couple struggling through something in their relationship and the silence means reality.

In connection to this, I think one thing about the movie that I noticed as well was that the ridiculousness of several of the antics in the film work to emphasize the plight of the main characters instead of existing merely for the sake of absurdity. Cases of this type of absurdities in the film include Emile randomly riding his bicycle around their apartment, an egg that Angela flips into the air staying there until she returns from the telephone, and an argument between the couple that culminates in both of them picking up the entire lampshade, going to the bookshelf in their apartment, and then showing specific parts of book titles to represent how the other feels about the other in the heat of the moment. 

Furthermore, the ridiculousness of these scenes also seem to amplify the central conflict – Angela wants to have a baby so bad that she actually considers the option to get pregnant by someone who is not her romantic partner and even does it near the end of the film. Emile as well is shown to not be fully uninterested, as he is shown going as far as to ask random strangers on the street if they would be willing to give Angela the baby she desires.

Through these scenes, it really goes to show how despite the ridiculousness of the relationship and the ridiculousness of the film’s events, the central love story is unbothered. Though they may argue and they may act as if they hate each other, they never really leave and they never really lose the love they have for each other (as even by the end of the film, Emile finally gives in just so there is a chance that the baby is his). And that, ultimately, is likely the central core and heart of the film. Yes the film is over the top, yes it is too theatrical, yes it is too ridiculous of a premise to accept in reality. But stripped down to its core, it is a story about love and the various absurdities that come with it.

One thought on “A Love Story is a Love Story

  1. I agree with how ridiculous the relationship can be in the movie, especially on how both characters behave in response to a serious threat to their relationship. Despite this, the characters still find a way to remain together.

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