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This was the first feature by Godard after a decade spent experimenting with politics and video. It's as traditional a narrative as we have ever seen from him. The story has three parts. Denise Rimbaud (Baye) represents the imagination; she's a film editor who drops her frustrating work to find some fresh air in the Alps. Paul Godard (Dutronc) is the fearful-dependent side of most of us: he's afraid to leave the city, but can't live without Denise. Then there's business, represented by Isabelle the prostitute (Huppert).
The director, now 50 and with a flagging libido, has a field day with his sexual fantasies. The scene with the two hookers in the businessman's office is wonderfully funny, in its deadpan way it recalls Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle. The use of sound is more imaginative; he isn't using the montage of Beethoven quartet snippets that he often relies on. His camera moves more than in the past; there's a great slo-mo of Dutronc jumping over a table to tackle Baye, then they both collapse laughing onto the floor. The sense of freedom suddenly released is exhilarating.
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