Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967)

“Where is the beginning? But what beginning? God created heaven and earth. But one should be able to put it better. To say that the limits of language, of my language, are those of the world, of my world, and that in speaking, I limit the world, I end it. And when mysterious, logical death abolishes those limits, there will be no question, no answer, just vagueness.”

‘Two or Three Things I Know About Her’, directed by Jean-Luc Godard in 1967, is a French essay drama. The movie focuses on Juliette Jeanson, played by Marina Vlady, following her day as she cleans, shops, cares for her child, and works as an escort seeing me. In tone and content it is reminiscent of Chantal Akerman’s 1975 movie ‘Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles’, purposefully making the life of the main character as empty and mundane as possible, thus de-eroticising and de-romanticising her sex work, but here Godard goes one step further by introducing a commentary and a repeated breaking of the fourth wall. It’s like a hybrid of Akerman and Warhol. Godard is obessed with superficiality and minute details of both the life of his character and of the city she lives in. It’s the flipside of Godard’s earlier ‘Vivre sa vie’ as it does not offer a moral or dramatic trajectory for the character, but rather simply charts her movement, almost as through Jeanson is a immutable part of the machinery of Paris. As also in his earlier film ‘Pierrot le Fou’, ‘Two or Three Things I Know About Her’ is peppered with social and political signification, but here Godard doesn’t use the conventions and genres of Hollywood to hang his ideas and thesis on, instead he takes the much simpler route of providing, in effect, a directors commentary. It would be interesting, therefore, to watch this on DVD if there was also a commentary…

Would I recommend it? It’s less accessible than ‘Vivre sa vie’ or ‘Pierrot le Fou’, but more digestible than ‘Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles’. As with Akerman’s movie there’s a strange feeling of hypnotic rhythm to the film that makes it compelling though.

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