Une Femme Coquette (1955)

Available online here, Une Femme Coquette’, directed by  Jean-Luc Godard in 1955, is a short French movie, once of the director’s earliest works. It follows a woman as she tries to mimic the flirtatious actions of an escort she meets but smiling at a random man. The man then pursues her to her flat where she ends up in a liaison with him. It’s a very short, fragmentary movie, the main significance of which is its obscurity and difficulty to get hold of.  I stumbled on a link to an online, subtitled copy and watched it at 5 o’clock in the morning, so my impression of it is hazy and a little unreal. The act of writing this, therefore, is one of trying to pin it down. Godard’s characteristic directorial techniques are in evidence here, as is a surprisingly broad depiction of Paris. The camera follows the woman like a stalker, and then switches roles when the man pursues her. It’s subversive, neorealist, almost guerrilla like in its style, but the real significance of this movie, much like Renoir’s ‘Partie de campagne’, is the sense of it not quite being a film, almost as though it is an historical artefact that isn’t meant to be seen but somehow reveals details about the director that informs his future work.

Would I recommend it? If you can find it then yes, at the moment it is online here – it’s a short time to spend on a movie but it reveals much about Godard. I’d watch it in a double bill with ‘Partie de campagne’.

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