Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Une femme mariee’

une femme mariee

Une femme mariee, fragments d’un film tourne en 1964 en noir et blanc (A Married Woman: Fragments of a Film Shot in Black and White), a film from Jean-Luc Godard, is more like an essay, devoid of any traditional film language. Then again, if you expect anything ‘traditional’ in a Godard film, you’ve never heard of him. 

Une femme mariee was far different by even Godard standards. As I noted, anything an audience usually expects in a film is not here. In a sense, it’s a film without a beginning, climax and an end. There is no action. It focuses on Charlotte (Macha Meril), a married woman torn between her husband, a man romanticizing the past, and an actor. She seems committed to neither of them and Godard appears to be more interested in the effects of consumerism on her life.

Charlotte is one of the most interesting female characters in Godard’s cinema. She’s older than Anna Karina’s characters in Bande a part and Alphaville, the two films Une femme mariee is sandwiched by. Charlotte is an individual not tied to anyone, even though she loves her husband’s child (she is not the mother). Still, I don’t think she is not happy with her life, especially after reading page after page of magazines and seeing what life is “supposed” to be like.

The film was made in just four weeks and even without a script, but you wouldn’t get that feeling upon seeing it. Raoul Coutard’s cinematography has never been better, perfectly capturing the unique images in Godard’s head.

While MoC may be the Criterion Collection of England, they do things a little differently. Une femme mariee does include Godard’s trailer, but that’s it. The rest of the bonus material is the 80-page book, filled with some fascinating essays. I still haven’t even read through it all yet!

MoC has put together another fine package with Une femme mariee. I can’t wait to get another one of their releases soon. If you are a fan of Godard in the U.S., get this now.

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