Crosspost: A Woman Is A Woman

An insufferably smug “idea of a musical” that fails to capture or satirize any of the pleasures or weaknesses of the genre while being bluntly, thoughtlessly misogynist. Airless, obnoxious, pretentious, and shallow.

https://cinerarium.wordpress.com/2022/05/01/100-movie-musicals-36-a-woman-is-a-woman-1961/
time for a book fight

My live reaction notes below the cut, if you’re interested.

i’ll be honest with you, i do not like godard. i think he’s pretentious and fails at delivering the basic thrills of the genres he notionally inhabits

god even these credits are annoying

i do have a weakness for that midcentury french music, though

there’s something happening with the sound cutting in and out repeatedly, but it happens so abruptly that it always feels like a technical error instead of an artistic choice. the same thing is happening with the extreme drop off in focus as you move away from the center of the shot. It’s clearly an intentional choice, but when you can’t even fit your character’s head into the focus, that’s headache inducing

i could watch cities just moving around for hours, though

there’s some of the same verite messiness to this that we saw in A Star Is Born, but it’s rawer here; it feels more like a cheapie rising toward artistic rather than an expensive movie stooping to artistic. this was only godard’s second feature length movie, and predates both Band of Outsiders and Alphaville, so some rawness might be expected

actually, you know the other movie this reminds me of is carnival of souls

the decision to drop out the backing music when she’s singing during her striptease is an interesting one. it makes the performance seem a lot more intimate than it would otherwise, more awkward and exposed

the color shifting during this burlesque is very giallo

her ex-boyfriend ran out on a hotel bill and refuses to pay it, and so he and the hotelier (?) shout insults at each other across the street. boyfriend calls the hotelier a jew and the hotelier calls him a fascist

lyrical shout outs to cyd charisse, gene kelly, and bob fosse

the first substantial thing we know about her ex is that he’s an antisemite, and uh that makes this whole cute montage with him really unbearable

PLAY AN ENTIRE SONG ALL THE WAY THROUGH

on paper this seems like it would totally work. a musical about a stripper trying to get pregnant and going about her life in a grounded, low-drama way? late 50s fashion and french music? that’s all delightful in concept, and the actors are naturalistic and charming enough by godard standards, but the damn music and direction won’t ever ever let you forget that you’re watching A MOVIE and instead it’s all just exhausting

he’s all analysis, no synthesis

honey, your boyfriend is a drip

“woman are, or woman is, the cause of suffering,” says the boyfriend. “you can say it either way.”

“women who don’t cry are stupid. they’re women trying to be men,” she says, later. she also calls her boyfriend emile a filthy communist, which maybe has something to do with the police showing up to search the apartment later

is he calling his friend alfred — her antisemitic ex from earlier? — to come in and impregnate her?

oh my god are we going to be stuck in this apartment the entire rest of the movie

look you can tell me these two have a mutual undying love when they’ve done nothing but yell at each other the entire time they’ve been on screen together

the subtitles are doing in this movie what the incessant voiceover did in band of outsiders, but at least it’s only seldom deployed

this is like waiting for godot but with all the interesting bits stripped out

yes, he literally did call her ex in to fuck her to give her a baby and now she and the ex are hiding out in the bathroom pretending to fuck to mess with him and is this all meant to be edgy or what

also emile and alfred are nuzzling each other’s necks now, but jules and jim this ain’t

the two bros go off to eat and leave her home alone, shouting “to hell with all women” as they leave

the neon signs say “still has nice breasts” as a chapter break and i hate godard so much

the two dudes left her alone and went out on a date with two other women and now they’re dragging them to the stripclub that angela works at and she’s… also on a date there?

there’s also a stripper doing a super racist native american thing because why not

the music is overbearing

now they’re insulting each other through book titles “monster,” she says. “go to hell,” he says. i hate this fucking couple

okay, “pernicious mummy” is pretty good

“all women to the stake,” he says, through his books, and it’s the last line of the fight and I think we’re meant to see this all as charming, but it feels bluntly misogynist

this is a very believable crappy apartment

why does she love this dude? he’s not funny or charming or handsome and he won’t fuck her, what is he bringing to the table here exactly. he doesn’t cook or clean or pay the bills as far as i can tell, he just treats her like crap and tells her all women should be killed

cute sight gag at least where she throws an egg up out of the shot, runs out to the hallway to answer the phone, then comes back in 30 seconds later to catch the falling egg

gosh, which terrible dude will she choose? baby, the only winning move is not to play

alfred runs into jeanne moreau in a bar and asks her how jules and jim is going. it isn’t the first time godard has wedged in a shout out to his own or his friends’ movies, and if i was enjoying this movie at all i’d find it funny but instead it feels narcissistic. it’s like if every tarantino movie had characters talking about how much they liked pulp fiction or punch drunk love

all the random passersby are giving the camera the utter stinkeye, which is the best thing about the movie so far

you know you could just be poly

her ex is a police informer too???

there’s a lot of talk about love in this movie, but there’s nothing else really going on in these characters’ lives. we know so little about them and what they want out of life or why they like each other or anthing, they just constantly squabble about whether they’re in love or not

is this a song about men hating women and wanting to kill them?? “at times i want to wring your neck/in the last five years you’ve really let yourself go/…/i ask myself every day what did i ever see in you”

seriously what the fuck is this song

men will literally bang their heads bloody against an actual brick wall rather than just be nice to a women they love

if this is a satire on romantic comedies, it fundamentally misunderstands the rules and pleasures of romantic comedies

“go ahead and strip then, you disgust me.” girl, break up with the sex work shaming piece of trash, he has not said one nice thing to you this entire movie and he keeps asking strangers to fuck you to prove some point about having a baby

jesus christ, this dude just went to a sex worker because he was mad at his girlfriend for being a sex worker, pick a lane, jackass

now he’s running off to mexico

this movie desperately wants to think it’s world weary and has some insight into heterosexuality but it’s just demonstrating that these two specific dudes are trash and justifying it by pretending that all men are Like That

the camera merges with emile as he stalks her around her apartment and she tries to dodge him

“is this a tragedy or a comedy? either way it’s a masterpiece.” bro, this is nothing for no one

not again with the books fighting, i hate this

“if you don’t love me, i’ll still love you” fuck offfffff

he FINALLY fucked her, jesus christ

AND THAT’S THE END, FUCKING TONGUES OF FIRE ABOVE THE HEADS OF THE SAINTS, WE ARE DONE

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