2 or 3 Things I Know About Her ★★★★½

I've had a love-hate relationship with Godard not only in the past but especially in the last month, but 2 or 3 Things feels like a whole different game to me. Not in the director's aesthetic approach or targets of society, but in his honest-to-God humanism on display here. I thought it might be the fact this film came out after Karina finally walked out on him, but Richard Brody's book notes that he would shoot this film in the morning while making Made in the U.S.A in the afternoons.

So forgetting armchair psychology, why does this film feel so radically more humane and practically gentle? The framing is tighter (2.35!) without feeling overbearing in visual background information, the film has a loose structure while staying centered on a character stuck between two worlds (Vlady might be better than Karina ever was, the comparisons of faces and landscapes giving us the clue to why), and while the film does address a ton of subjects, its central idea is about where the modern woman stands in a society that's constantly under "construction" (both literally as we see and metaphorically through language). Godard's voice over, given in a whisper (thus much less assaulting than usual) calls this film a study of objects, and certainly he presents to us woman after woman who are objectified by the men around her. But this also feels like Godard's lament for what is being lost in society, as the coffee cup scene searches deep for meaning in swirls of emotion. Week-End a year later would put the director in pure satire mode, but there's something exciting and almost elegiac in 2 or 3 Things that might address the same issues, and made me much for sympathetic to them in a side that Godard has never shown me. It's the first Godard I've really wanted to watch again sooner rather than later.

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