A housewife prostitutes herself to earn more money to enjoy life’s luxuries in Godard’s somewhat messy ‘anything goes’ takedown on consumerism, as he scathingly—and self-reflexively—goes off tangent in matters of language, the Paris city, love and more.
Dir. Jean-Luc Godard
1967 | France | Drama | 84 min | 2.35:1 | French, Italian & English
Not rated – likely to be NC16 for sexual references and some nudity
Cast: Marina Vlady, Anny Duperey, Roger Montsoret
Plot: As the city of Paris and the French people grow in consumer culture, a housewife living in a high-rise apartment with her husband and two children takes to prostitution to help pay the bills.
Source: Argos Films
Subject Matter: Moderate – Consumerism & Society
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Pace: Slightly Slow
Audience Type: General Arthouse
Made in the tail end of his more ‘accessible’ ‘60s phase, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is one of Jean-Luc Godard’s more critically-acclaimed offerings, though somewhat overshadowed by the more subversive and radical Weekend (1967) which was released in the same year.
The ‘Her’ in the title refers to a good many things—the Paris city, strange women, female strangers, perhaps even language and love. A housewife prostitutes herself to earn more money to enjoy life’s little luxuries, but while she might be the film’s protagonist, Godard has other ideas.
His main goal is to attack consumerism, but in his ‘anything goes’ takedown, he also finds himself going off tangent, commenting on just about anything from war (the Vietnam War was a major talking point at the time) to fashion.
“Since you know the world so well, do you know yourself?”
In one moment that could be described as either absurd or inspired, he gives us extreme close-ups of stirred coffee in a cup (which resembles the infinite cosmos) while alluding to the objectivity and subjectivity of human existence.
Some of the musings are scathing but overall, the film is somewhat messy—there’s an interesting thesis in there but Godard has rarely cared about coherence.
2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is also one of the auteur’s most self-reflexive entries—you might lose count of how many times the characters look at the camera. If you are already a Godard veteran, his deconstruction of the world that we live in through cinema should come as familiar, though I find this to be no more than mid-tier JLG.