"2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
Some films tell a story with characters and events that further the plot. Some films are made to strictly give a message to the audience. Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 film "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" does both very well.
The film has a good, interesting plot. We follow Juliette Jeanson (Marina Vlady) in a day in her life, where she shops, gets her hair done, then prostitutes herself at night for her own entertainment and to help pay the rent. However, as the story progresses, Godard is also feeding the audience social commentary in the form of a narrator, whose voice is so low we can hardly hear it. Godard has written that he "wanted to include everything: sports, politics, even groceries" when making this film. He wanted this to be a film that had everything in it.
This film is obviously more about the women in France than the men. We see how the women are treated, and their thoughts about their current situations. Godard does this in a way that I thoroughly enjoy- the women voice their thoughts by breaking the fourth-wall. They talk verbally about what they're thinking at certain times, and no one but the viewer and the character can hear their thoughts.
I am amazed at the cinematography by Raoul Coutard in this film. More than half of the film contains shots of everyday life in Paris. But Coutard and Godard make it in such a way that everyday life is absolutely beautiful. It doesn't matter what we're looking at - cars driving, freeway construction, gas stations, etc - we are so amazed and enchanted by this view of the world that Godard's film provides.
The Vietnam War was raging during the making and distribution of this film, and we see lots of anti-war commentary and shots in this film. From the little boy at the beginning talking about his Vietnam dream to the shots of the soldiers wounded, we can see what Godard's views of the War are.
We also see the treatment of women during this time period. An important scene is towards the end of the film, where there are two women sitting in a diner talking to two different men. The first interaction shows the man (who is Juliette's husband) try to make the woman he's talking to say sexual phrases to him that she feels uncomfortable saying. The second interaction is a man who is being comforting to a young girl who admits that she's been depressed and cries a lot. This scene alone shows how these two men are working at taking advantage of these two young, innocent women. I love what Godard does in this scene as he incorporates the sound from around the diner into the conversations. It feels like it's real life, and we can see that men who are sick and sexual predators are all around us. That's a horrifying thought to think of.
This is just one of Godard's famous films he had made. He made this film at the same time as making "Made In U.S.A", shooting one in the morning and one right after. He has said that pride lead him in the direction of doing this, and it obviously worked out in the end. Godard packs a lot into this hour and a half film, but it works. His thoughts about Paris during the 60s are conveyed so intricately alongside an interesting plot that you can't help but adore the entire film as a whole.