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Film / Une femme est une femme

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Une femme est une femme ("A Woman Is a Woman") is a 1961 film directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

It relates the story of a young woman named Angela Récamier (Anna Karina) who greatly wants to have a child and repeatedly requests so of her lover, Émile (Jean-Claude Braily). When he refuses to impregnate her and they begin a long fight, Angéla sleeps with Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo), Émile's best friend, out of spite and desperation.


  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Early in the film Angela meets Alfred in the street. He asks to talk to her. She blows him off and goes into a club, leading Alfred to look directly into the camera and say "And off she goes."
    • Before a scene where Angela melodramtically accuses Emile of not loving her, she says that they have to acknoweldge the audience. So they both turn to the camera, bow, and then continue playing the scene.
    • Angela delivers her last line "I am a woman" looking straight at the camera. Then she winks.
  • The Cameo: Alfred is right next to Jeanne Moreau in a coffee shop. He asks her how Jules and Jim is going (it was released the next year).
  • Celebrity Paradox: At one point, Alfred, played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, tells Emile and Angela that he doesn't want to miss a TV broadcast of Breathless, which stars... Jean-Paul Belmondo.
  • The End: The film ends with the camera panning up to the building across the street, where a neon sign says "FIN".
  • Fanservice Extra: There are a lot of strippers at the club, including a quick shot of a lady wearing nothing but bikini briefs, and another who gets topless in a series of Jump Cuts for Emile (even in France, this was daring for 1961).
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: The same stripper who provided Toplessness from the Back then walks through the backstage of the strip club holding her hands over her breasts.
  • Imagine Spot: Angela, who has a habit of making random comments out of nowhere, says that she'd like to be in a musical. And then for an instant she is, complete with costume change as she's briefly dancing on the sidewalk, before the brief sequence ends and she's back to what she was wearing before.
  • Jump Cut: A Godard trademark. One very brief sequence has Angela leave her friend in the street, followed by a series of quick jump cuts between random locations (the street, her apartment, what appears to be a shop) before meeting Alfred in the coffee shop. Later, there are a series of jump cuts for Emile shot in a very similar manner, after Angela has left following his refusal to impregnate her.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: A scene where Angela and Alfred are striking poses ends with both of them posing with their hands on their knees. She turns around and kicks him in the butt.
  • Lost in Translation: The final pun. In the end Émile says "Angéla, tu es infâme" ("Angela, you are horrid"), and she retorts, "Non, je suis une femme" ("No, I am a woman").
    • The Criterion Collection DVD subtitles change the translation slightly to give us this: "Angela, damn you." "No, a dame, me."
    • A later Criterion edition translates Emile's last line as "You are a bad omen."
  • Love Triangle: For Angela, Émile, and Alfred.
  • Match Cut: Angela, coming back from her act wearing nothing but a towel, points to some piece of clothing and asks if she can try it on. She passes behind a pillar—cut to the pillar from the opposite direction as Angela passes out from behind it, wearing the smart red blouse that she wanted to try.
  • Meaningful Name: Alfred Lubitsch is, of course, named after Ernst Lubitsch.
  • Running Gag: Emile and Angela live next door to a hooker, who has a phone. They are continually using/borrowing the hooker's phone, only to have the john of the day pass by them on the way out.
  • Shout-Out: Godard throws in several references to French New Wave films, including his own.
    • When Emile and Angela first call Alfred up to their apartment, he says he doesn't want to miss Breathless on TV. He must think he looks like the male lead...
    • Angela and a friend have a conversation about the latter getting a job as a stripper which includes references to two then-contemporary New Wave films.
      • Angela's friend has just been to the cinema, and Angela asks her what she saw. Her friend mimes playing a piano and then firing a gun; Angela correctly identifies this as a charade for Shoot the Piano Player and enthuses over Charles Aznavour's performance as Édouard/Charlie.
      • When the conversation turns to business, Angela explains that the club proprietor wants girls for a show in Marseilles. She mentions another dancer, Lola, who set out for Marseilles but ended up in Buenos Aires, a reference to Lola, released earlier that year.
    • Alfred meets an uncredited Jeanne Moreau in a bar and asks her how things are going on Jules and Jim (in which she played the female lead, Catherine).
  • Toplessness from the Back: One of the strippers at Angela's club shucks off a dress and walks away wearing nothing but tights on her bottom.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Angela's a stripper, and there are many scenes at the strip club, including her number (although this movie is 1961 so there's a Sexy Discretion Shot).