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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 dramatised 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 moneyspinning option, and where people are coldly resigned and immune to the human nightmares of Vietnam, and impending Atomic war. Written by
Godard made '2 ou 3 Choses...' more or less at the peak of his creativity. It was also made 'at the same time' as 'Made in USA'. The latter film is, for me, the beginning of the end of Godard as a major contributor to cinema, This, on the other hand, seems to be quite wonderful.
Godard had always been interested in 'prostitution', literally and metaphorically. Here he monumentalises his theme. Juliette Jeanson is a fabulous intensely feminine creation, magnificently played by Marina Vlady. Augmenting her housekeeping money by prostitution as a rather more down-market version of 'Belle de Jour', she muses about her life and its meaning.
This is a film in which it is not the 'plot' or the 'narrative' or even the dialogue that conveys meaning, it is the counterpoint between the images, the dialogue and the situation. This is massively enhanced by the director's use of his own voice as a kind of commentary. 'Shall I speak of Juliette or the leaves on the trees...' etc.
In a way, the film is also an essay on subjectivity and the way that people are treated as objects in certain aspects of capitalism. I hasten to add that I do not swallow Godard's uncritical Marxism, but there is quite enough in this film to make you think long and hard about modern society - today just as much as when it was made.
But the great thing about the film is that it is not just an intellectual exercise, less a piece of unthinking propaganda. It is a film with a heart and Juliette is one of the most lovable female characters in 60s French cinema.
The downside for the here and now is that, of all of the serious films of its era, this is arguably the one that least fits on a television. The Techniscope seems to be the widest image that the cinema allows and trim anything from the edges of Godard's images at your peril. So the trick is to see it in a cinema!
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