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 »
How do we learn? What do we know? Night after night, not long before dawn, two young adults, Patricia and Emile, meet on a sound stage to discuss learning, discourse, and the path to ... See full summary »
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
Shot back-to-back with Made in U.S.A. (his farewell to ex-wife Anna Karina), 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is one of Jean-Luc Godard most visually arresting, insightful and personal films. Inspired by an article in Le Nouvel Observateur about housewives prostituting themselves in Paris to fund their consumerist lifestyles, Godard uses this as the foundation to explore many other themes throughout the film, tackling everything from philosophy, politics, the ongoing Vietnam War, sexuality and, probably most important of all, France itself (the 'Her' of the title).
There is little plot to the film, and instead Godard uses every film-making technique in his arsenal to take the audience on a journey through the Paris suburbs, having his characters delve into rambling monologues, often responding to questions or regurgitating lines fed through an ear-piece by Godard himself. The main focus is Juliette (Marina Vlady), who occasionally prostitutes herself so she can buy pretty clothes or perhaps just to relieve herself of the boredom of the consumerist lifestyle, while her husband Robert (Roger Monsoret) listens to speeches on the radio regarding America's involvement in Vietnam.
It's with his over-simplified characterisation of Juliette that 2 or 3 Things fails to hit the mark. She is beautiful and intelligent, but seems to only truly love shopping or catching the eye of a handsome man in a cafe. There's little of the free-spirited charisma that Karina embodied in her various roles under Godard, but perhaps that's the point. Themes are often explored with a remarkable lack of subtlety, with the director's obvious opposition to the illegal war in Vietnam cropping up many times throughout the film, with photographs of victims of the war spliced into a rather silly scene involving an 'American' photographer (with a heavy French accent) and his odd fetish with placing bags over ladies heads and having them act out a routine.
Far more impressive are the visuals, with the celebrated shot of a swirling espresso while Godard whispers about his own inadequacy being the most memorable image, and the sheer ambition of a project shot so quickly. Godard is both criticised and adorned for being simply too intellectual and obtuse for film, and 2 or 3 Things is one of the greatest examples of his unwillingness to craft a digestible film for his select audience. The dialogue is often wonderful and poetic, yet sometimes it's rambling nonsense, spoken by characters who have no place in the story, almost as if Godard got bored and moved his camera to a conversation he found more interesting. It's both frustrating and fascinating to see a director of such singular vision, and while there is little of the excitement and energy of his early New Wave work, 2 or 3 Things is an experience like no other.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this