2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)

This film may be Jean-Luc Godard at his least accessible. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is the lucid journey through the experiences of French women in the 1960s. There is virtually no plot, just a series of scenes with her children and at work as a prostitute; blended in with all of this are scenes of other women in this line of work.

This “story” is told in a very interesting manner though, flowing between all these scenes and strung together by the whispers of an omnipresent male narrator as well as the women occasionally breaking the fourth wall and speaking to us directly. In addition, prostitution serves as an interesting metaphor; these are all women who appear to be middle-class, yet they are apparently forced into this lifestyle of exploitation by men.

This creates the gender divide recurring throughout the film. The women do what they need to in order to make ends meet, including resorting to prostitution. Meanwhile, the men often have their heads in the clouds, focusing on international politics or theory, lacking the practical “skill” the women employ.

I could follow the film through this much, but on top of this there was clearly a critical commentary on consumer culture and capitalism; it was hard for me to understand its place in all the action though, and the reversion to this theme made the end product seem a bit bloated to me, as if Godard tried to bite off more than he could chew.

This movie certainly reflects Godard’s effort to surge into more serious territory, particularly gender politics. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her isn’t for everybody, but it is good viewing for Godard aficionados. Most Americans (myself included) aren’t very conscious of representations of feminism in other countries, so this film is particularly illuminating.

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