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Criterion Coll: Woman Is a Woman [DVD] [1967] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Anna Karina , Jean-Claude Brialy , Jean-Luc Godard    DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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  • Actors: Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Henri Attal, Karyn Balm
  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Writers: Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, Geneviève Cluny
  • Producers: Carlo Ponti, Georges de Beauregard, Pierre Braunberger
  • Format: Anamorphic, Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Jun 2004
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001ZIYDO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,613 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The French director Jean-Luc Godard pays tribute to American musicals, love, youth and his love of film in Une femme est une feme, in much the same way that his debut feature,BREATHLESS,did with American gangster films. The story follows the beautiful Angela (Anna Karina), a stripper who wants nothing more than to have a baby. Her live-in boyfriend, Emile (Jean-Claude Brialy), doesn't want to refuse and risk sparking major friction between the two. However, fed up with her constant pleading, Emile finally suggests that she shack up with his best friend, Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo), and much to Emile's dismay, she eventually takes his advice. A WOMAN IS A WOMAN is Godard at his most affectionate and good-natured. He also makes several cinematic in-jokes, and features a magnetically beautiful performance from Karina, who soon after the film became Godard's wife. This really is worth seeing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it doesn't get any better than this 25 Nov 2006
By A. Hook
Quite simply, this is my favourite film of all time. Wonderful, inspiring, intriguing, heartfelt, loveable, comic, and utterly utterly brilliant. Godard is incomparable as always, yet this is him at his most congenial. You have no excuse not to watch this movie!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New wave romantic comedy: cute, playful 18 Jan 2008
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
Godard is beginning to grow on me. Maybe it's because I'm watching his films from the sixties, made when I was a teenager in France, and the nostalgia appeals to me. Maybe it's because his work seems free and easy, uncontrived, almost amateurish compared to some other famous film makers. Or maybe it's just that I like this particular pretty girl he features.

She is pretty, gangly Anna Karina starring as Angela, an exotic dancer who is madly in love and wants to have a baby. Godard has a lot of fun with her, encouraging her to mug for the camera, getting her to do movements that cause her to trip and look not just gangly and very young like a pre-adolescent, but even clumsy--and then to leave the shots in the film, probably telling her, "This is a comedy. You need to be not just beautiful, but funny, warm, vulnerable."

Karina does manage a lot of vulnerability. Her exotic act including her singing is...well, there are usually only a handful of customers in the joint and so her skills are probably appropriately remunerated. Again this is intentional since Godard wants her to be just an ordinary girl without any great talent, someone with whom the girls in the audience can identify. But the irony is that the girl must needs be at least pretty. Karina is more than pretty. She is exquisite with her long shapely limbs and her gorgeous countenance.

One of the compelling nostalgic elements is the way women did their eyes in the sixties: so, so overdone! Although I thought that look was oh so sexy then, today I would like to clean the blue, blue--or is it purple?--eye shadow and the black, black mascara off of Karina's face and see her au naturel!

But it is the sixties in Paris--Gay Paree, Paris in the Spring, the City of Light!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jean-Luc Godard re-invents cinema once again... 25 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Can Godard's sixties films be anything less than sensational ? " A Woman is a Woman " remains one of his most magnificent, a dazzling cinematic hymn to the Hollywood musical, and a celebration of his then wife, Anna Karina. Karina plays Angela, a nightclub stripper who yearns for a baby. Her practical boyfriend, Emile (Jean-Claude Brialy) insists that they marry first, and in her frustration she turns to Emile's friend, the romantic Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo)...
Seldom has the old cliché of the love triangle been filmed with such verve and innovation, and the movie is funny, tragic, happy and sad, and ultimately triumphant. The performances are wonderful. Brialy is fine as the boyfriend torn between his love for Angela and his stubborn pragmatism and Belmondo is typically cool, complete with customary cigarette permanently dangling from his mouth. Both male leads are peripheral however, for this is Karina's movie, as she examines the complexities of life and the difficulties of being a woman.
Technically, Godard is at his most playful, employing his usual array of stunning cinematic devises - there are visual gags galore, fluid tracking shots, Raoul Coutard's garish photography ( Godard's first film in colour ), a soundtrack of deliberately exaggerated big band music that seeming appears and disappears at any given moment, and the kind of referential cinema that Godard loves. There are nods towards Francois Truffaut and his films " Jules et Jim " and " Shoot the Piano Player " and at one point Belmondo mentions a screening on TV of " Breathless ", Godard's groundbreaking first feature.
Like nothing you've ever seen before, " A Woman is a Woman ", is a time capsule no doubt, but definitely a masterpiece for all time...
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There She Goes.." 24 July 2004
By Autodidact - Published on
The New Wave has been assessed in every intellectual capacity, and using every aesthetic criterion imaginable, but what makes the New Wave the most beguiling of cinematic phenomenon is that, in essence, it is a declaration of the love of cinema, through cinema itself.

AWOMAN IS A WOMAN ("Une Femme est une Femme"), Godard's third film, is as much a milestone as his own "Breathless" two years earlier. The basic premise is effectively that of a kitchen sink drama; an exotic dancer's (Anna Karina) whim to have a baby is met with consternation by her boyfriend (Jean-Claude Brialy), who is further dismayed when she asks a mutual friend (Jean-Paul Belmondo) to act as a surrogate father.

But the neo-realist background gives way to a film shot in bold, giddy colours and synchronised to Legrand's harebrained soundtrack - A WOMAN IS A WOMAN is best described as a musical with no singing. Actors frequently affect choreographed like stances and positions, their conversations punctuated with overtly dramatic interventions from Legrand's score. Our heroine expresses her desire to appear in an American musical, "with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse", before adopting the relevant deportment for the approval of the audience, who are constantly consulted, bowed to, winked at and cavorted with by actors revelling in front of Godard's lens.

It is Godard's preference for the actor, in favour of the character, that makes A WOMAN IS A WOMAN an unparalleled experience in spontaneity. Filmed without a script, the actors wear their own clothes and concoct their own dialogue. Belmondo in particular frolics in the new-found fame gifted to him by Godard, expressing his wish to be present when "they're showing Breathless on television", and grinning at the audience as he namedrops new acquaintance Burt Lancaster. Later, he meets Jeanne Moreau in a bar, and asks her "how JULES ET JIM is coming along".

And it is with Truffaut's masterpiece that A WOMAN IS A WOMAN shares its essential raison d'être - the embodiment of femininity through a dazzling and formidable singularity, in this instance Anna Karina, whose whims, mood-swings and impetuosity are her right and privilege as a woman, as all women. "Women have a right to dodge issues, men don't", she tells Brialy, shortly after decreeing the stupidity of modern women, "these women who imitate men". A smile turns to a frown or a tear in the blink of an eye, and back again just as quickly, in an infectiously joyful and touching performance that is among cinema's most engaging. Karina, the new wave bride, worked with husband Godard on seven of his greatest films, but it is this wonderful and dizzying cinematic cocktail that is Godard's most translucent love poem to an extraordinary actress touched by an impulsive genius and unique beauty.

Along with JULES ET JIM, Jacques Demy's LOLA and Godard's own BAND A PART, A WOMAN IS A WOMAN is the most energizing and uplifting of all New Wave films. Both gleeful and baffling, it is essentially summed up by Brialy himself, who towards the film's delightful conclusion declares: "I don't know if this is a comedy or a tragedy, but it's a masterpiece"
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'm Not Without Shame. I'm a Dame!" 27 Jun 2004
By Philip Cannistraci - Published on
With the minor exception of the new english subtitles messing up this great final line, the Criterion Collection edition of Godard's "A Woman Is A Woman" is yet another outstanding release, on par with their "Contempt" and "Band of Outsiders" DVDs. Great picture/sound quality and great extras. An early short film (from 1957), "All Boys Are Called Patrick" is alone worth the price of the DVD. It's nice to see even in 1957, Godard had his style down; it's quite a funny bit of cinema. Wong Kar-Wai clearly liked this short-film, because there's a scene from "Chungking Express" lifted straight from it. Also included on this DVD is a 1966 French television interview with Anna Karina and she's enchanting as always (interesting to, because this comes right after her break-up with Godard), plus you see a bit of Serge Gainsbourg talking about Anna! If you're a Godard and/or Anna Karina fan, this is a must-own DVD. The movie itself, "A Woman Is A Woman", is one of Godard's most expiermental yet more accessible films. It's without doubt, his funniest film with several verbal and sight gags that will cause you to laugh-out-loud. And Raoul Coutard's camera work is amazing as usual. This film was definitely a few years ahead of it's time, seeming more in line with post-LSD flicks like Magical Mystery Tour and The Thomas Crown Affair than anything else form the early 1960s. Also, there's Michel LeGrand's outstanding, hyper-active score, which foreshadowed his Thomas Crown work.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious celebration of life! 27 Jun 2004
By Rodney Luck - Published on
When you watch "A Woman is a Woman" you enter a cinematic fantasy world created by Godard, one of our most inventive filmmakers. It is a world filled with color, music, humor, heartbreak, fluid tracking shots, creative editing and groundbreaking audio tracks. When you watch films like Coppola's "One from the Heart" or the recent "Moulin Rouge" you can instantly see how much "A Woman is a Woman" influenced those films. The big difference is Godard's film was made in 1961! Years ahead of it's time. The acting from Brialy, Belmondo and Karina is nothing short of brilliant. They play off of each other so well and look like they're having a marvelous time thru-out the film. The music score by Michel Legrand is one of the highlights of the viewing experience. There are so many musical interludes that pay homage to Hollywood musicals and at moments grand opera. They're just breathtaking! But remember, this is Godard's version of "life as musical." The actors don't break into song at any given moment. The musical score accents their dialogue as if they were in a musical, operatic production. In reading the other reviews posted here I am shocked to see people write the film off as a piece of boring fluff. If you keep an open mind and allow yourself to enter the world created by Godard in "A Woman is a Woman" you will be greatly rewarded. You'll wish you could go back in time and be on the streets of Paris sharing Anna Karina's red umbrella!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To be re-released by Criterion 9 Mar 2004
By none - Published on
A Woman is a Woman should be re-released by the Criterion Collection in the 2nd half of 2004. Save your money from buying the expensive Fox-Lorber version.
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