Confusing, unapologetic, and viscously philosophical—"2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" is one such movie that is drastically impossible to place into a genre or category. It feels like an existential drama that meets half-way with a fake documentary...for most of the first part of the movie, I was asking myself, "What is going on?"
Jean-Luc Godard's directing, more than any other of his films, could be described as frazzled and uncaring. Loving a story about people who seem platonically lost in their lives, Godard finds his strength in the outward projection of the characters's inner struggles.
"2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" concerns Juliette and the actress that plays her, Marina Vlady. In whispered, voiced-over narration (not to be confused with Malick's loving, poetic statements), provided by Godard himself, we are told a great many things that don't make sense at first.
The film touches so many topics that it becomes a hassle just trying to keep track of each one—though some narration and visual contradictions lead me to think that there's a deeper meaning to the film.
I find that with the truly great, human directors (the ones whose works are meant to do more than entertain), I feel that I'm missing something when I watch one of their movies. Kubrick does it to me every time and so does Malick. Sam Mendes' "American Beauty" is a prime example of this, as is anything by Hitchcock.
Godard includes himself on this list with this movie, because I kept feeling that I was one step behind everything. It's hard to enjoy a film while it makes you feel stupid.
I don't know...maybe that was the point of the film.
Juliette's life as a prostitute and mother brings about many casual conversations about sex—one of Godard's favorite things.
Scenes where nothing really happens are juxtaposed next to comments on the Vietnam war. Smoke from a cigarette is matched with the sound of bombing as the smoke descends onto equipment that is obviously symbolic of a city. Juliette's husband listens to Johnson talking about bombing Hanoi, while she reads a fashion magazine....what is Godard trying to accomplish with these scenes?
I think that (since the film is sort of documentarian-like), it's representative of an average person's reaction to the war. Society keeps building while other countries are in turmoil. Juliette asks herself how someone in Europe can think of someone in Asia.
Reality gets blurred as the film continues...the biggest theme is how words are inaccurate. Language (which is once referred to as "the house a man lives in") is picked apart and destroyed.
Acting like a fly on the wall, the camera becomes Godard and then Godard becomes the audience...just watch the movie, it makes more sense.
There is no real fourth wall for all the characters and actors to break...which they do constantly.
Is the film feminist? Anti-feminist? Political? All of these things at the same time?
I think that everyone could have a unique reaction to the film and are free to form their own hypothesis.
I'm sure that I have opinions on the film as much as the next person, but I can't seem to put them into words...darn my muddled brain!
Attractively shot with an air of doom, "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" is one of Godard's most intimate and bizarre works. Parts of it seem like an instruction manual and others appear to be complete fiction.
In its own way, the film is fascinating...but that doesn't make it hugely enjoyable.
Intelligent and fractured, "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" is not perfect; but I appreciate the effort.
Score: 3 out of 4 stars