Finally, I watched one of Jean-Luc Godard’s New Wave films with Anna Karina as the main character. She is captivating as Angela, turning from coquettish to despairing at the blink of an eye. Her beauty and vulnerability draws you in, as you sense her longing and frustration at her inability to connect with Emile.
I found Godard’s techniques, revolutionary for his time, very effective at capturing the contradictions of romantic relationships. Instead of having the entire scene play out in chronological time, Godard splices snippets to form a slightly disjointed narrative. The viewer is left to imagine what happens, for example, in an argument between Angela and Emile. This reflects the nature of spats between couples in real life- the primary matter of dispute often plays less of a role than the little silly phrases uttered.
Like Last Year at Marienbad, another defining French New Wave film, A Woman is a Woman is a refreshing departure from the frenetic, action-packed but emotionally hollow narratives of Hollywood cinema. I’ll be checking out other Godard films if I can.