Une femme est une femme (Jean-Luc Godard, 1961)
In a tribute to the musicals of the 1950's and introducing the style of Jacques Demy's films, Godard with Une femme est une femme assimitated his influences and reinterpreted them in his very own particular way. In the 1960's no director was more prolific than Jean-Luc Godard, as for his number of films to what they brought to Cinema.
Une femme est une femme is a film about Angela (Anna Karina) who desperately wants to have a baby. If it's not from her husband (Jean-Claude Brialy) It will be from her ex (Jean-Paul Belmondo). Angela is a strip-tease girl and besides the fact that she has an "uncommon" job for a married woman she has a very "common" need to have a baby. It's just the way she will have it that is more theatrical... Far from being the traditionnal Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly musical, Une femme est une femme is the child of those two influences on Jean-Luc Godard.
The story of the film itself reflects what the couple Godard-Karina just had to pass through, Karina was pregnant of Godard but complications made her loss the baby with the result of her being sterile. Godard wanted to give to Karina the chance to live and surpass this problem by playing a role that could made her get over that hard moment... But as many know, the couple was like a roller coaster and their relationship was too intense. Sometimes they were having a fight the eve of the shooting and the day after Godard would have written the script with the same words as the last day's fight. His inspirations are everywhere and he always has been the best recycler of everything in Cinema and in his life.
This is a film without any pretention and the way it was shot made it light and beautiful. The lavish colors gives it a melancolic tone perfectly agencing Karina's interpretation of the little Angela. Prior to Vivre sa vie and even after, Karina's characters are often closer to childish women than anything. In Une femme est une femme we have the feeling to see a kid wanting a child. Even her demand to her boyfriend is childish making scenes out of it and playing around. It's an interesting way to discover how Godard perceives women in general.
Une femme est une femme stands as one of the few comedies Jean-Luc Godard did in his whole oeuvre and should be seen for its originality. Godard may be one of the few "auteurs" to actually have changed the face of his art. It's a film that has been underappreciated but stands as one of the strongest efforts from its auteur and from the Nouvelle vague.