Inside The Subversive Style Of A Godard Heroine Oct10


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Inside The Subversive Style Of A Godard Heroine

Inside The Subversive Style Of A Godard Heroine

Abbey Bender

The filmography of Jean-Luc Godard is filled with incendiary, wildly influential work. Even if his films weren’t fashionable, they’d be vital. But of course, one of the fun things about Godard is the fact that his work is filled with capital-L Looks. Just think of Jean Seberg’s striped shirt (the epitome of insouciant Francophile style before it became a cliché) or New York Herald Tribune sweater in Breathless (1960), or Anna Karina’s divine fur collar and primary-colored stockings in A Woman Is a Woman (1961). These looks have become perennial reference points for film snobs and fashion magazines alike, and with good reason. One of Godard’s most fashionable achievements (among other things, of course), Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967) played at New York’s Metrograph theater in a sure-to-be-beautiful 35mm print earlier this month, and the auteur’s new film, The Image Book, premieres at the New York Film Festival tonight. 

Two or Three Things I Know About Her is a foray into experimentation that uses a philosophical whispered voiceover from the director and fragmentary imagery to follow Juliette (Marina Vlady), a bourgeois housewife who dabbles in prostitution. The film critiques capitalism and the Vietnam War and features characters directly addressing the camera. All of this seriousness, though, is presented in some of the most potent, pop art-ready colors of the '60s. Costumes exist in harmony with décor and products. An early scene of Juliette washing dishes features a frock in a psychedelic pattern, a red-and-purple Buster Keaton poster, and an array of appealingly arranged packages. What could be mundane becomes scenic. 

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