Une Femme Moderne

“No, I am a woman.” This revolutionary line, as I could imagine, sparked the interest of thousands of French and non-French people all around the globe. It showed the clash between man and woman through a series of conversations and arguments by the Angela and Emile. It showed how a woman can have power through her actions and words and how easy it is for women to get their way. I also liked the way the director, Jean-Luc Godard, used Anna Karina’s innocence and playfulness to highlight the general populace of women. He used her personality to feature how women can be. Silly as we may be, we always get our way. 

According to our professor, this film was supposed to be a musical and it was, for a short while, which was kind of confusing. Aside from the scenes that Angela had in the exotic club where she worked at and the part where she sang about Gene Kelly (link – 1:08-1:22). Which was quite interesting because apart from those two scenes there was no hint that it was a musical. Which is why despite it being called a “musical”, I personally didn’t think it was one, not a mainstream one at least. It showed Godard’s way of breaking the rules, creating a so-called “musical” without it being an actual musical.

The story-telling’s flow was pretty simple and was easy to follow. It was a good mix of quirky and funny to make sure that the audience was kept on the hook. It was a classic French New Wave film, similar to Godard’s other films. When asked about this particular film, he said, “I thought of the subject [of Une femme est une femme] while thinking about a musical neo-realism. It is an absolute contradiction, but it is precisely that which interests me in the film.”

I could compare the main character (Angela) to a modern woman, which is why my title is “une femme moderne” which is French for a modern woman. The film was made in 1961, which is where many if not most of the roles of women have progressed in France. The film vividly manifested Godard’s idea of a woman, which like most his films were way advanced from his time.

I wasn’t surprised when I watched the film and it’s outrageous plot. It was different, a breath of fresh air if you will. It showcased Godard’s personality and his ideals as a director. It was interesting how he used music and different sort of shots in order to exhibit each character’s personality and individuality. I loved how the director, used lights in order to focus the attention on what Angela wanted to portray.

I would consider Une Femme est Une Femme to be an art film, which is why when I read the supplementary reading Film Form and Narrative by Suzanne Speidel. I understood that heroes and heroines weren’t meant to relatable and likeable. They were meant to be unconventional and different to make audiences think. Both characters showed their own personal flaws and audiences found it weird and distasteful. Let us start with Angela’s occupation and Emile’s complete lack of concern towards Angela. 

Ultimately, I loved the film. I wouldn’t say it was Godard’s best one but I definitely enjoyed it. Although, I personally didn’t understand some parts it was interesting and watching this film. I realized that one does not need to understand every single concept that a director exhibits because some ideas were meant for us to find our own interpretation of them.

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