7.5/10
13,543
41 user 70 critic

A Woman Is a Woman (1961)

Une femme est une femme (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 6 September 1961 (France)
A French striptease artist is desperate to become a mother. When her reluctant boyfriend suggests that his best friend impregnate her, feelings become complicated when she accepts.

Director:

Jean-Luc Godard

Writer:

Jean-Luc Godard

On Disc

at Amazon

2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Pierrot escapes his boring society and travels from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea with Marianne, a girl chased by hit-men from Algeria. They lead an unorthodox life, always on the run.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani
Vivre Sa Vie (1962)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Twelve episodic tales in the life of a Parisian woman and her slow descent into prostitution.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Anna Karina, Sady Rebbot, André S. Labarthe
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

During the Algerian War, a man and woman from opposing sides fall in love with one another.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Anna Karina, Michel Subor, Henri-Jacques Huet
Breathless (1960)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two crooks with a fondness for old Hollywood B-movies convince a languages student to help them commit a robbery.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Danièle Girard
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A romance between young Parisians, shown through a series of vignettes.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Chantal Goya, Marlène Jobert
Contempt (1963)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Screenwriter Paul Javal's marriage to his wife Camille disintegrates during movie production as she spends time with the producer. Layered conflicts between art and business ensue.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli
Alphaville (1965)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A U.S. secret agent is sent to the distant space city of Alphaville where he must find a missing person and free the city from its tyrannical ruler.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A woman involved with a terrorist group becomes dangerously close to the police officer guarding the bank they plan to rob.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Maruschka Detmers, Jacques Bonnaffé, Myriem Roussel
Made in U.S.A (1966)
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In the near future, leftist writer Paula goes from Paris to the French town of Atlantic-Cité when she learns of the death of a former colleague and lover, Richard P. Is she there to ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Anna Karina, László Szabó, Jean-Pierre Léaud
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A superifical woman finds conflict choosing between her abusive husband and her vain lover.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Bernard Noël, Macha Méril, Philippe Leroy
Weekend (1967)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A surreal tale of a married couple going on a road trip to visit the wife's parents with the intention of killing them for the inheritance.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Kalfon
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Jean-Claude Brialy ... Émile Récamier (as Brialy)
Anna Karina ... Angela (as Karina)
Jean-Paul Belmondo ... Alfred Lubitsch (as Belmondo)
Edit

Storyline

Angela,a striptease artist, wants to have a baby and tries to persuade her boyfriend Emile to go along with the idea. Emile will have none of it so she goes after Emile's friend Alfred. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

distributor's website

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

6 September 1961 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Woman Is a Woman See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$160,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,213, 18 May 2003

Gross USA:

$100,665

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$100,665
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #238. See more »

Goofs

When Angela first meets Alfred on the street, the red and blue armband he wears changes from his right to his left arm between the start and end of the scene See more »

Quotes

Angela: Do you have a coin?
Alfred Lubitsch: The jukebox?
Angela: Yes!
Alfred Lubitsch: Ok. What'll I play - "Itsy-Bitsy"?
Angela: No - Charles...
Alfred Lubitsch: Aznavour?
Angela: Yes!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Mother and the Whore (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Tu t'laisses aller
(uncredited)
Written by Charles Aznavour
Performed by Charles Aznavour with Paul Mauriat et son Orchestre
Conducted and Arranged by Paul Mauriat
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Godard's first masterpiece; a colourful pastiche of Hollywood film-making and the woes of modern life
16 April 2008 | by ThreeSadTigersSee all my reviews

For me, Godard is easily the greatest living filmmaker; the most radical and revolutionary, one of the few director's whose work is so defiant, unique and idiosyncratic that he can go without credit on some of his greatest films - Weekend (1967) and Hélas pour moi (1993) to name just two - and yet, the work is always distinctive, exciting and immediately identifiable. Une femme est une femme (1961) was Godard's first film in colour and also his first in cinema scope, and he uses both of these devises to the fullest of their capabilities. As a result, it is one of the most important films of his career, sowing the seeds of creativity that would give way to later films like Le Mepris (1963), Pierrot le fou (1965) and La Chinoise (1967), and in the process creating a unique and entertaining film that rewards repeated viewings, whilst simultaneously remaining true to the filmmaker's progressive, cinematic intent. Like much of Godard's earlier work, the preoccupations here are almost entirely referential. He's still trying to revolutionise the format somewhat - playing with codes and conventions, simplifying character and narrative to an almost ironic degree and creating the drama from an accumulation of scenes - but there is also something more playful going on alongside a genuine love of cinema that is all too often overshadowed by the cynicism in his more recent work, such as Slow Motion (1980) and the underrated In Praise of Love (2001).

At first glance, the story of Une femme est une femme would seem to be incredibly sweet; a play on relationship difficulties and notions of love, honour and friendship wrapped up in the eternal battle of the sexes in a way that makes for great, light-hearted farce. However, on closer inspection, the giddy production design and typically imaginative use of mise-en-scene seem to be presenting a number of abstractions that draw our eye away from the deeper themes behind the film and the characters that are introduced. Like Jean Pierre Jeunet's Amélie (2001), the colourful format and child-like games being played by both character and filmmaker alike seem to be hiding darker notions that point towards ideas of loneliness, emasculation and dissatisfaction. With this in mind, we must ask ourselves if Godard's playful references and elements of sardonic pastiche are intended to be seen as something chic, or are they instead more in tune with the escapism presented by a film like Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark (2000), in which musical sequences and the air of American melodrama is used as an exit point for the hopelessness of the central character.

With this interpretation it is important to look at the character of Angela, a strip-club artist in a tempestuous relationship with the cold and chauvinistic Emile. Angela delights in playing games with Emile and with the audience as well; acting out her existence as if trapped between the continually juxtaposing worlds of the sitcom and the Hollywood musical as a desperate attempt to derive a simple sense of pleasure from a life that seems entirely joyless. She believes her relationship with Emile can be salvaged by the birth of a child, but when Emile seems unwilling and unaccommodating she turns to his best friend Alfred and begins yet another duplicitous game between the two. This throws something of a shadow over the character of Angela, her name itself creating an ironic juxtaposition as she plays the two men off against each other in an attempt to get what she wants. These issues would appear in subsequent Godard films, from Vivre sa vie (1962) to Slow Motion, with the depiction of women as performers, and indeed, women as prostitutes, seemingly allowing themselves to be put-upon in an attempt to get what they really want. Unsurprisingly, these are serious themes and issues with real dramatic weight that could, in the hands of a lesser filmmaker, have been used to mine a path of social-realist melodrama. Godard is more shrewd than that and presents the film as a carefree farce that is continually undercut by the distancing and distracting use of both audio and visual experimentation.

Despite the darker and more despairing thematic issues presented by the script, the tone of the film and the central performance from Anna Karina as Angela is undoubtedly bubbly, with its vibrant conversations, imaginative use of role playing and blithe musical interludes. However, the film is still reliant on Godard's iconic use of early deconstructive elements, with jarring and dissonant bursts of music, random jump cuts, provocative inter-titles filled with sardonic wit and devious puns, and the appropriation of numerous genre characteristics and stylistic cross-references to offset the story at its most basic level. Regardless of such personal interpretations, the film works just as well if taken at face value, with the boundless energy and imagination of Godard and his crew, the playful references to Truffaut and the relationship between the burgeoning French New Wave and its roots in Hollywood B-pictures, and the fantastic performances from Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy and Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Without question, Une femme est une femme could be seen as Godard's first true masterpiece. It is funny, witty, clever and insightful - filled with imaginative vignettes and the infectious sense of joie de vivre that only great film-making can present - whilst beneath the surface we find all manner of hidden depths and avenues of interpretation that remind us of the filmmaker's particular sense of genius. Regardless of your interpretation, the final moments of Une femme est une femme, with that devilish last line, visual pun and wink to the camera is a masterstroke from Godard; one that works within the context of the film as a frothy attempt at jovial farce, whilst simultaneously reinforcing the darker side of Angela's character and the empty life that she leads. As the character herself proclaims halfway through; "I don't know if this is comedy or tragedy... but it is a masterpiece".


21 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 41 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed