Jean-Claude Brialy

A Woman is a Woman (1961)

A Woman is a Woman has a pretty straightforward premise: Woman wants to have a baby, her boyfriend doesn’t, conflict ensues.  Anna Karina plays Angela, a stripper who desperately wants to have a baby.  Angela lives with her boyfriend Emile (Jean-Claude Brialy), but he is in no hurry to get married or have a baby.  Of course, the couple bickers and they argue back and forth in their preferred method of using book titles.  Angela threatens to have a baby with the first man to come along.  When she threatens to go to Emile’s best friend Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo), who has a thing for Angela, Emile calls her bluff and invites Alfred over himself.  Angela and Emile’s fight becomes even more heated and the next day, Alfred declares his love for Angela.  But Angela hopes to work things out with Emile and Emile is left to decide whether or not he wants to marry Angela.

I’ve been trying to watch more Jean-Luc Godard movies lately.  So far, I have only seen three: Breathless (which I liked), Contempt (which I hated), and now A Woman is a Woman (which I really liked).  The plot for A Woman is a Woman doesn’t really sound like it’d make a great comedy, but Godard totally pulled it off here.  This is a completely different side of Godard from what I’d seen before, it’s so playful.  I particularly loved the part where Jean-Paul Belmondo’s character makes a joke about Breathless being on TV tonight.  It’s wonderful enough as it is to have a joke about Breathless in a Jean-Luc Godard movie, but it’s just genius when the joke is delivered by Michel Poiccard himself, Jean-Paul Belmondo.  And I loved the cameo from Jeanne Moreau and how Alfred asked her how Jules and Jim is coming along.  Gotta love French New Wave humor.  The performances were great, I loved the direction, the use of vibrant colors was fantastic, there simply isn’t anything I didn’t like about this movie.

Unfortunately, the Criterion Collection DVD of this movie has gone out of print, but it if you have Netflix, it is still available to watch instantly through there.  It’s only 85 minutes long, so if you want something fun to watch but doesn’t require a big time commitment (which is precisely what I was looking for when I decided to watch it), this is a great choice.