Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 10th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: France, March 17th, 1967
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Writers: Jean-Luc Godard, Catherine Vimenet
Cast: Joseph Gehrard, Marina Vlady, Anny Duperey, Roger Montsoret, Raoul Lévy
DVD released: July 21st, 2009
Approximate running time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono French
DVD Release: Criterion
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
“Up to now — since shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution — most movie makers have been assuming that they know how to make movies. Just like a bad writer doesn’t ask himself if he’s really capable of writing a novel — he thinks he knows. If movie makers were building airplanes, there would be an accident every time one took off. But in the movies, these accidents are called Oscars.” – Jean-Luc Godard
Juliette Jeanson (Marina Vlady) is a bored house wife whose husband is more interested in listening to the Vietnam War on his mini radio. Unsatisfied with her daily routine at home she expands her horizons working in central Paris one day a week as a prostitute. Is this really just a temporary situation for Juliette or will she soon realize her mistake?
Jean-Luc Godard never a liked to repeat himself as a filmmaker and with his film, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her he continued too explore a more abstract narrative/structure in the themes of his films. The film opens with the camera asking the lead actress her name before repeating the same question she was just asked and now she replies to them in the character of Juliette. Also many times during the film the actors and actresses look directly into the camera and address the audience. While this may seem common place in today’s cinema back in the mid-1960’s this kind of breaking the fourth wall and interacting with the audience was unheard of. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is a far cry from Contempt the first Godard film that I ever had the pleasure to watch and yet it does bare a few similarities most notably his use of the widescreen frame. Godard just doesn’t place an actor with in the frame. He carefully creates compositions like Leonardo De Vinci paints masterpieces on a canvas.
Godard even makes an appearance in 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her as the films cynical narrator who warns the viewer about the Government, Consumerism and Capitalism. The main focus of the film is the character of Juliette as we spend a day in her life as she travels the streets of Paris. This film is almost devoid of any music which is an important part of most of Godard’s films. Instead Godard focuses more on language as the cast recite the heavy handed dialog is the films most powerful asset. This film wouldn’t be a Godard film without symbolic imagery and subliminal like editing. Godard clearly mixes products we are often bombarded with by advertisers with graphic images of the social injustices from the Vietnam War. One of the films weaknesses is that we never fully get to know any of the characters as they are portrayed in a cold impersonal way which also helps underscore Godard’s theme of isolation which is present through out. Even though Godard’s 2 or 3 Things about Her is one of his least accessible films it is still one of his most important films of his career.
Criterion presents 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s 2.35:1 scope aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. This is another solid transfer from Criterion that excels in every area with colors looking nicely saturated, flesh tones looking healthy and accurate, black levels look strong throughout, details look sharp and grain when present looking natural.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in French and removable English subtitles have been provided. The English subtitles are easy to follow and free of any errors. The audio is in great shape as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and there are no problems with background noise or any other audio defects.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 33 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in French with English subtitles), a video essay cataloging the multiple references in the film (9 minutes 49 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in French with English subtitles), an on camera interview with Antoine Bourseiller (15 minutes 13 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in French with English subtitles), a theater director who during the early 1960’s was a close friend of Jean-Luc Godard, two archival clips, the first clip is with actress Marina Vlady (7 minutes 34 seconds – 1.33:1 ‘full frame’ aspect ratio), who discusses working with Jean-Luc Godard and there is on set footage and the second clip is a debut about prostitution with Jean-Luc Godard (13 minutes 11 seconds – 1.33:1 ‘full frame’ aspect ratio), that was taken from a television appearance. The main extra is an audio commentary with film scholar Adrian Martin who discusses the film’s many references and the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard. Rounding out the extras is a collectible booklet that includes images from the film, an essay written by film critic Amy Taubin and the letter that inspired the film that was written by a housewife who turned to prostitution to help support her family. In 2004 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her was released on DVD in the UK by Nouveaux Pictures and as good as that release was for its time. This new DVD release from Criterion improves upon and in some instances substantially over that previously release. Overall Criterion gives 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her its best DVD release to date.