Some of the films on this list are just bonkers, and this is definitely one of them. An interesting social commentary on the day, but basically no plot.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Screenwriter: Jean-Luc Godard
Starring: Marina Vlady, Anny Duperey, Roger Montsoret
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Runtime: 87 Minutes
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by: Pearl
In this film, ‘Her’ refers to both Paris, the character of Juliette Janson and the actress playing her, Marina Vlady. The film is a kind of dramatized documentary, illustrating and exaggerating the emotionless lives of characters in the new Paris of the 60s, where commercialism mocks families getting by on small incomes, where prostitution is a money spinning option, and where people are coldly resigned and immune to the human nightmares of Vietnam, and impending Atomic war. – From IMDB
The Glorious thing about watching films from the ‘1001 Movies to watch before you die’ list, is that you are subjected to just about every kind of film you can imagine, and there are quite a few totally bonkers and weird films on this list. This film is one of those films. It is a work of fiction, but the actors and actresses involved break the forth wall and talk to the camera a lot of the time, we are introduced not only to our main character but also the actress that plays her, and the whole thing is shot documentary style. So there is a lot that blurs the lines between what is real and what is fiction.
There are two kind of narratives happening at the same time during the film. The first tells the story of our main character Juliette, am average French housewife, whose spending habits have left her no choice but to subsidize her income with prostitution. Now apparently in the 60s this was a thing that a lot of French housewives actually did. Who knew? It isn’t shown as shameful or seedy in anyway, just as a necessity. Even in the 60 the French were much more sexually progressive then us stiff upper lipped Brits. But throughout the story there is a lot of commentary going on about the Vietnam war, communism and the struggles facing those less better off in society.
The other aspect to the film, and the part I mostly disliked was a commentary that would play every now and then by the director that would talk about the socio-economic struggles in Paris at the time and how he feels about it etc. While this was probably vey relevant at the time the film was released, I had little interest in the subject now, and found the segments annoying and distracting from the main narrative.
The film is visually stunning to watch, a lot of wonderfully lit shots and the use of some really interesting film-making techniques to get the film that we ended up with. During the ‘interview’ scenes we get for each character, the director actually had the actresses wear earpieces that he spoke into, feeding them questions and line to say. While it offered a genuineness to those segments, it often meant that the performers were left looking a little lost, waiting for instructions. It broke the flow a little.
One of the stranger films off the list, but that doesn’t make it bad, just a little different. Check it out of you get a chance and like films that have something to say about the socio-economic climate of their times.