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A Woman Is a Woman (The Criterion Collection) [Import]

Anna Karina , Jean-Claude Brialy , Jean-Luc Godard    Unrated   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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One of the landmark early films of the French New Wave, director Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless) weaves a tale of desperation and deceit. Anna Karina (Vivre Sa Vie) plays a stripper determined to have a child in the hopes that it will better her life. She tries in vain to convince her rough, selfish boyfriend (Jean-Paul Belmondo) to father the child, but he refuses. In desperation and sparked by anger she turns to his best friend to father the child, setting off a new round of recrimination and betrayal. Une Femme Est une Femme is one of Godard's first films and essential viewing for fans of the Nouvelle Vague, to chart the beginnings of the detached mood and style that influenced a coming generation of films. --Robert Lane

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There She Goes... July 15 2004
The New Wave has been assessed in every intellectual capacity, and using every aesthetic criterion imaginable, but what makes the New Wave the most beguiling of cinematic phenomenon is that, in essence, it is a declaration of the love of cinema, through cinema itself.
AWOMAN IS A WOMAN ("Une Femme est une Femme"), Godard's third film, is as much a milestone as his own "Breathless" two years earlier. The basic premise is effectively that of a kitchen sink drama; an exotic dancer's (Anna Karina) whim to have a baby is met with consternation by her boyfriend (Jean-Claude Brialy), who is further dismayed when she asks a mutual friend (Jean-Paul Belmondo) to act as a surrogate father.
But the neo-realist background gives way to a film shot in bold, giddy colours and synchronised to Legrand's harebrained soundtrack - A WOMAN IS A WOMAN is best described as a musical with no singing. Actors frequently affect choreographed like stances and positions, their conversations punctuated with overtly dramatic interventions from Legrand's score. Our heroine expresses her desire to appear in an American musical, "with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse", before adopting the relevant deportment for the approval of the audience, who are constantly consulted, bowed to, winked at and cavorted with by actors revelling in front of Godard's lens.
It is Godard's preference for the actor, in favour of the character, that makes A WOMAN IS A WOMAN an unparalleled experience in spontaneity. Filmed without a script, the actors wear their own clothes and concoct their own dialogue.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious celebration of life! June 27 2004
When you watch "A Woman is a Woman" you enter a cinematic fantasy world created by Godard, one of our most inventive filmmakers. It is a world filled with color, music, humor, heartbreak, fluid tracking shots, creative editing and groundbreaking audio tracks. When you watch films like Coppola's "One from the Heart" or the recent "Moulin Rouge" you can instantly see how much "A Woman is a Woman" influenced those films. The big difference is Godard's film was made in 1961! Years ahead of it's time. The acting from Brialy, Belmondo and Karina is nothing short of brilliant. They play off of each other so well and look like they're having a marvelous time thru-out the film. The music score by Michel Legrand is one of the highlights of the viewing experience. There are so many musical interludes that pay homage to Hollywood musicals and at moments grand opera. They're just breathtaking! But remember, this is Godard's version of "life as musical." The actors don't break into song at any given moment. The musical score accents their dialogue as if they were in a musical, operatic production. In reading the other reviews posted here I am shocked to see people write the film off as a piece of boring fluff. If you keep an open mind and allow yourself to enter the world created by Godard in "A Woman is a Woman" you will be greatly rewarded. You'll wish you could go back in time and be on the streets of Paris sharing Anna Karina's red umbrella!
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5.0 out of 5 stars "I'm Not Without Shame. I'm a Dame!" June 27 2004
With the minor exception of the new english subtitles messing up this great final line, the Criterion Collection edition of Godard's "A Woman Is A Woman" is yet another outstanding release, on par with their "Contempt" and "Band of Outsiders" DVDs. Great picture/sound quality and great extras. An early short film (from 1957), "All Boys Are Called Patrick" is alone worth the price of the DVD. It's nice to see even in 1957, Godard had his style down; it's quite a funny bit of cinema. Wong Kar-Wai clearly liked this short-film, because there's a scene from "Chungking Express" lifted straight from it. Also included on this DVD is a 1966 French television interview with Anna Karina and she's enchanting as always (interesting to, because this comes right after her break-up with Godard), plus you see a bit of Serge Gainsbourg talking about Anna! If you're a Godard and/or Anna Karina fan, this is a must-own DVD. The movie itself, "A Woman Is A Woman", is one of Godard's most expiermental yet more accessible films. It's without doubt, his funniest film with several verbal and sight gags that will cause you to laugh-out-loud. And Raoul Coutard's camera work is amazing as usual. This film was definitely a few years ahead of it's time, seeming more in line with post-LSD flicks like Magical Mystery Tour and The Thomas Crown Affair than anything else form the early 1960s. Also, there's Michel LeGrand's outstanding, hyper-active score, which foreshadowed his Thomas Crown work.
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3.0 out of 5 stars lights - cameras - godard...hitting his stride! July 7 2003
Format:VHS Tape
By now, Godard is a somewhat mythical creature to cinephiles and to the casual film viewer alike. The mention of his name conjures up romantic notions of the filmmaker and the filmmaking process as the uncompromising artiste and his vision of the world as it should or could be. This early Godard work continues to perpetuate his image as the enfant terrible of the French New Wave and the international cinema. "A Woman is a Woman" resides as a minor yet significant work. Clearly, experimenting with colors, lighting, and music took precedence over the plot development - a bare-boned tale of a sassy, sentimental stripper (Godard's muse - Anna Karina) trying desperately to have a baby with bourgeois, self-interested boyfriend (Jean-Claude Brialy) but finds a welcome distraction in the more attentive, lovelorn Jean-Paul Belmondo.
Karina is at her charisamatic best and Belmondo complements her at every turn as the more fun-loving of her suitors. Brialy is also quite excellent as the somewhat clueless man in her life. Que magnifique! Paris in the early 1960s is never so vibrant and magical as depicted through Godard's camera. The musical vignettes - Godard's hommage to American musical theater - add layers to the emotional tone of the film, which while spotlighting the talents of Godard regulars Karina and Belmondo, is yet another delightful love poem to Paris, the City of Lights. Its colors, moods, and aspects as registered in his heroine's predicament.
Like any self-respecting auteur, he injects intertextual references to other "classics" of the French New Wave school - his own "Breathless", his friend Truffaut's "Shoot the Piano Player" among others, including icons of the American musical film.
A must-see for Godard fans!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars To be re-released by Criterion
A Woman is a Woman should be re-released by the Criterion Collection in the 2nd half of 2004. Save your money from buying the expensive Fox-Lorber version.
Published on March 8 2004 by none
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
A lot of people don't like Godard very much, and I understand why: he sometimes seems more interested in making a theoretical or academic point than in making an enjoyable movie... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2003 by Ronaldinho
3.0 out of 5 stars lights - cameras - godard...hitting his stride!
By now, Godard is a somewhat mythical creature to cinephiles and to the casual film viewer alike. The mention of his name conjures up romantic notions of the filmmaker and the... Read more
Published on July 7 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Way too good for Americans to get it...
I've read the reviews on here, even the one who gave it 4 stars. I originally saw this film in French with NO subtitles, and even though my French is rusty, I still appreciated it... Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2002 by HH
5.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood masterpiece?
This is certainly one of the finest films Godard has ever made and not in spite of the criticisms that could be leveled against it but because of them. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2002 by Bradd Allen Saunders
2.0 out of 5 stars A Bit better than most Godard films, but, not his best!
Jean-Luc Godard it is said by some to be one of the greatest French filmmakers ever! It is also said that he was a great inventor for cinema. Read more
Published on March 21 2001 by Alex Udvary
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute c**p
I will never buy Fox Lorber stuff again. I did watch five minutes of "A woman is a woman" and after that I just coulnd't take it anymore so I did throw the thing out in... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull movie, shabby DVD
Not a musical, not a comedy, hardly a tribute to Hollywood movies -- not much of anything, really. Aside from "Breathless", isn't it time to admit Godard is among the... Read more
Published on May 4 2000 by Patriotic American
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Godard's best
This is a beautiful, exilarating, joyful film if there ever was one. I can't watch this thing without getting an overwealming sense of euphoria. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2000 by Scott D. Cudmore
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