The One about Jean-Luc Godard’s “Une femme mariée: Fragments D’un Film Tourne En 1964 en Noir et Blanc”

1964.  Jean-Luc Godard has had another success with his fifth film “Bande a part” (Band of Outsiders) and began his sixth feature film “Une femme mariée: Fragments D’un Film Tourne En 1964 en Noir et Blanc” (A Married Woman: Fragments from a film from 1964 in Black and White).  The film which he began in June 1964 was shot in a four weeks, edited within five weeks and shown at the Venice Film Festival in early September.

“Une femme mariée: Fragments D’un Film Tourne En 1964 en Noir et Blanc” is rather an interesting, entertaining and profound film by Jean-Luc Godard.  Quite different than “Band of Outsiders” which preceded it and “Alphaville” which came after, this film is a film that can be seen as a sign of the times but still as relevant today.

Although I have not seen every Godard film made let alone any films he released after 1970 but I have seen a good number of his ’60s films and I have to say that “”Une femme mariée” is his most erotic film.  We see many shots of a naked back, a stomach, thighs as hands are seen caressing a woman’s body. Visually poetic, Godard’s film uses fade outs instead of his familar jump cuts.  We see the negative utilized in Godard’s video (which would be explored in “Alphaville”) and more.

“Une femme mariée: Fragments D’un Film Tourne En 1964 en Noir et Blanc” is an interesting film. As mentioned, this is his most erotic film as we see hands caressing Macha Méril’s body. Her back, her arms, her thighs, her waist… it’s a very creative way of how it was filmed. Focusing on the body parts and showcasing sexuality without having to show its participants full bodies taking part in sex.

Of course, the film is seen differently by many people. For some, this is Godard’s life with Anna Karina and his marriage going downhill. Is this why Godard exploring marriage and the obsession of what his hot in pop culture and women’s fashion courtesy of advertising and how it corrupts women. While men are not as easily pulled into it but yet they are hooked on the women that do so. Shallowness has been explored in Godard’s “2 or 3 Things I Know About Her” and also in “Masculin Feminin”. In this case, Charlotte is being told about why they were in Auschwitz, but what happened during WWII is not important as it’s passe to her, while a magazine article about breast enlargement is more intriguing. She is not an intellectual, she is a woman of faults and is not afraid to admit it. She is a product of mindless consumerism, a woman who lives for the now and wants to experience for the thrill of what happens “now”.

But I enjoyed this film because it was so visually creative. The erotic shots were well-done. Improvisational use of questions being asked a question by Charlotte (which I’m guessing similar to “Masculin Feminin”, questions are being told to Macha Méril by Godard) to actor Bernard Noel who is answering as himself but also in character as Robert about if his love for Charlotte is real or is he acting. Even certain mistakes as Charlotte is running and falls flat on the road is kept in the film. This is Godard using spontaneous moments and using it for his film.

I know I keep saying that nearly every Godard film is a masterpiece. But I do feel that “Une femme mariée: Fragments D’un Film Tourne En 1964 en Noir et Blanc” is indeed a masterpiece and shows that an auteur such as Godard can craft something so quickly and yet making sure the film is witty, humorous and also tragic in some way.

Highly recommended!