Une femme mariée

Une femme mariée (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)

The 1960’s have been Jean-Luc Godard’s most productive decade. In 1964, he made La bande à part, Une femme mariée, a segment in Les plus belle escroqueries du monde, the short documentary Reportage sur Orly. As stated in many subsequent reviews of his films on Le Mot du Cinephiliaque, Godard is a revolutionary filmmaker with whom’s work I have some kind of love/hate relationship. His early films are fresh arrogant and inspiring as his later work even more arrogant and caracterized in the intentionnal lack of narratives.

Strangely, Une femme mariée, stands apart in the long filmography of the master. Closer to a Michelangelo Antonioni or an Ingmar Bergman picture than to a Samuel Fuller, this film with beautiful close ups and many sumptuous movement of camera, tells a simple story in a glossy black and white that accentuates the beautiful forms of the naked bodies of the lovers. At some point, Une femme mariée doesn’t look like a Godard film. It’s the dialogues that recalls his rich literal background and his “aisance” to play with the words. The kind of story reminds me of the great films by Bergman where a married man consumes his love for a mistress. The moments of the couple and the moments of conjugal life where the married woman lies to her husband about her liaison and her deep involvement with him recalls those doomed marriage that Bergman often portrayed in his films. The Antonioni touch is more on the visual aspect of Une femme mariée, in its highly contrasted black and white picture and the way the bodies are erotically shot. I cited Fuller, because his films of the 1950’s were a considerable influence on Godard’s films of the 1960’s. His raw camera work and his in your face attitude towards Cinema is palpable in films like La bande à part or À bout de souffle.

As an unconditional fan of Jean-Luc Godard’s films, even if some of his films deranged me, they are work of one of the most important figure of the French New Wave and it should be regarded as an important heritage of the coming of age of modern Cinema. Une femme mariée is oft overlooked and probably because of its unGodardian approach or because of its experimental (funny to think that Godard isn’t experimental) cinematography that isn’t shot in the same approach as his other films of this era. One thing is sure about Une femme mariée, this is truly a film of its time.

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