“All the world’s a stage.” (William Shakespeare, As You Like It)
Jean-Luc Godard’s A Woman is a Woman (Une Femme est une Femme) delves into an interesting take on experimental artistry as it gives you a film viewing experience like no other. As someone who grew up exposed to American film, to see such a film that strayed away from traditional cinematic techniques was rather interesting. The film begins with hauntingly disturbing audio cuts, silences emitting a confused “oh no- is that a technical difficulty?” from the class, with a theatrical framework that further enabled the plot’s creative yet quite peculiar use of wit and humor. This film was one of my very first experiences of being exposed to European film and all that it had to offer, and I would say that I am incredibly confused but at the same time, deliciously disturbed, for lack of a better term. Honestly, I suppose the absurdity of it all allowed me to see past all of the surreal components of the story line and the narrative and inject some humor into my viewing experience. There was this one strange scene that still boggles my mind: who the heck rides a bicycle inside their apartment for minutes and hours on end, just circling around the same path over and over and over and over again?
This film is a love story like no other. I found myself highly and perhaps, frustratingly intrigued by the characters of Angela and Alfred, living off of a love that was a push and pull. There were a lot of moments of stubbornness showcased by both characters, and darn, did I just want them to fix whatever problems they were facing throughout the timeline of the story. It was also frustrating and resonated well with me how Angela struggled to be understood by her partner: the constant gender debate about how different male and female contexts are and how these may present difficulties in relationships with the opposite sex. The relationship sometimes felt like they were going through child’s play, and I felt a certain sense of immaturity even in the way they fought and eventually, made up and reconciled with the handy use of their bookshelf.
The film felt incredibly theatrical, and it felt like watching a staged play, even starting off with an opening sequence that showed the glamorous, classy, elegant title of Once Upon A Time. There were also a lot of scenes that mildly put me in unease: the characters looking straight to the camera, starting into your soul. This is generally not a usual thing to do in films, but this film was something else. It did, however, add to the whole charm of the film in the larger scheme of things. It added a sense of wonder, and made it feel more personal as it tried its best to break the fourth wall. It is, indeed, a masterpiece as said in the film.
As said in the film, I also do not know “whether this is a comedy or a tragedy”.