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After dating for three months, Charlotte breaks up with her boyfriend Jules, a writer, for another man, a filmmaker who Jules believes is only a means to further her acting career. One week later, Charlotte returns to Jules' apartment. Jules embarks on a diatribe about their relationship, past and present. Jules admits that he still loves her, and that her return proves that she still loves him, but it is questionable on his part how easily he will take her back. If Jules does end up letting Charlotte get a word in edgewise, he may discover the answers to their relationship questions from Charlotte's perspective. Written by
delightful in its frank and playful attitude to "Him" vs/with "Her"
Jean-Luc Godard must have known he would come back to Charlotte and Her Jules very soon after making it, since he recreated in Breathless, made at or around the same time as this last short he made before going head-on into features, a nearly 20 minute version of this scene only with a little more of an equal playing field. Meaning in this case it's all about the man, or rather "her" man, and in a small-term experimental sense it's quite successful. It's basically just a monologue Jean Paul Belmondo delivers to his girl following her return from being with "another" man, who apparently is waiting in his car on the street below. The monologue is so ranty Charlotte (who as a clever and sneaky and telling trick by Godard gets top billing) only gets in two lines, one of them her exit, "I just came for my toothbrush", with all smiles going on, trying on a hat, occasionally whistling, while her man goes on and on.
It was one of Godard's so often quoted idioms that it became cliché and then went back around to original and then in a circle forever and ever that "the history of cinema is men photographing women." It is in this case that Godard practices this full-tilt; while Belmondo (with Godard dubbing) gets all of the audio time, pontificating, complaining, praising, sarcastically reminiscing about the good times and bad times and harping both poetic and the self-conscious about himself and her, the camera is almost always on the pretty Anne Collette. Godard would return to usually keeping his camera on his "lady" be she Anna Karina, Bridgit Bardot or Anne Wiezemsky, but for right now it's perhaps best to consider this a practice run. Thankfully it's an extremely entertaining and curiously rigorous practice run, showcasing the attention to the opposite sexes plus flexing such muscles as breezy and quick cuts and the freedom and rough edges of a hand-held black and white camera.
Ah, those were the days, before say the 1980s and 1990s came around.
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