2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967/2009)

by | Jul 19, 2009 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967/2009)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Starring: Marian Vlady, Anny Duperey, Roger Montsoret
Studio: Argos Films/Rialto Pirctures/Criterion Collection 482 [Release date: July 21, 09]
Video: 2:35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 color
Audio: French PCM Mono
Subtitles: English
Extras: Commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin; Archival TV interviews with Marina Vlady on the set, and with Godard on prostitution; New interview with theater director Antoine Bourseiller, friend of Godard; Visual essay cataloging the multiple references in the film; Theatrical trailer, Printed booklet with essay by film critic Amy Taubin
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: ***1/2

Not my favorite Godard film by any means, but probably would be de rigeur to any Godard fan. The French auteur was into Maoist theory at this time and his usual dropping in of political and philosophical zingers is so heavy and unrelenting that the basic plot of the movie is completely lost. And although the color photography is lovely, the design of the film really didn’t call for superwide Lawrence of Arabia-style aspect ratio.

The stimulus for the film came to Godard from an anonymous letter printed by a Paris newspaper which had earlier run an article on what the paper called Shooting Stars – the phenomenon of daytime clandestine prostitution by housewives who had recently moved to new more expensive high-rise apartments on the outskirts of Paris and whose families couldn’t pay the rent. The letter was from a housewife claiming about half of the women in these apartments lived these parallel lives. The film ostensibly follows the daily life of Juliette, who prostitutes herself for extra money. Her husband doesn’t have a clue; in one scene a male friend asks “How did you get the Morris?” and he replies “Oh, Juliette got it for nothing – she’s great at bargains.”

But the story line is mostly lost in Godard’s literary and philosophical sidetracks. His targets may deserve his attacks – there are Vietnam atrocity shots during this time of Vietnam protests – but it’s unrelenting. They are so constant that there is a visual essay in the extras to list the sources of most of them – including such contrasts as Ray Bradbury and Lyndon Johnson. Those expecting titillation from “at work” scenes with Juliette will be disappointed – the closest is one male client just back from Vietnam who hires Juliette and a friend to walk around nude with TWA and PanAm travel bags over their heads (which is all that is seen).

The transfer looks great, up to the normal highest standards of Criterion, and the English subtitles are well-translated – nothing to snicker about anymore as with subtitles in the distant past. I felt some of the extras were more interesting than the film, especially Godard holding forth on the subject of prostitution that he touches on in many of his films, and the interview with his friend from the 60s.  I find Bunuel’s Belle de Jour a much more viewable and entertaining take on the subject of this film, with a better actress too.

 – John Sunier