Two or Three Things I Know About Her

Jean-Luc Godard's inspiration was a news article on “shooting stars,” suburban housewives who prostitute themselves in the afternoon by way of cleverly managing inadequate household budgets. The film covers twenty-four hours in the life of such a woman (Marina Vlady), living with her garage-mechanic husband and two children in a housing project on the outskirts of Paris. But the “her” in the title is Paris itself, a metropolis in the throes of dehumanizing redevelopment under Gaullist capitalism. For Godard, the new Paris represents an epiphany of contemporary malaise and the enforced disintegration of communication. Here, prostitution is an existential condition, and his incisive film is above all a phenomenological study of the reversal that has taken place in the subject-object relationship between people and their world. Hence Raoul Coutard's breathtaking color cinematography (showcased here in a gorgeous print), in which objects bubble forth with life while the human-anxious, uncertain even of her own physical existence-diminishes in the wake of the future.

Two or Three Things . . . is repeated on Sunday, June 3.

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