100 Movie Musicals #36: A Woman is a Woman (1961)

An insufferably smug “idea of a musical” that fails to capture or satirize any of the pleasures or weaknesses of the genre while being bluntly, thoughtlessly misogynist. Airless, obnoxious, pretentious, and shallow.

it’s time for a book fight

God in Heaven, do I loathe Jean-Luc Godard. A Woman Is A Woman is the third movie I’ve seen of his, after loathing both Band of Outsiders and Alphaville, and I don’t know why I keep subjecting myself to his drivel. He has this huge reputation, but as far as I can tell even his best works are shallow reworkings of genre pieces that fail to understand the genres they’re tinkering with on even the most fundamental level.

Godard called this “the idea of a musical,” rather than a musical itself, and that’s true enough — the movie deploys music aggressively and oppressively, but only ever to undermine a scene or yank your attention away from any sort of emotional connection to these characters or this story and point it firmly at Godard’s craft as director. It’s exhausting and irritating, an actively hostile film that dares you to watch it, but simultaneously has nothing at all to say that’s worth the irritation of sitting through it.

1 Response to “100 Movie Musicals #36: A Woman is a Woman (1961)”

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