EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN'T (L'UNE CHANTE, L'AUTRE PAS) (director/writer: Agnès Varda; cinematographers: Charlie Van Damme/Nurith Aviv/Elisabeth Prrouvost; editors: Joelle Van Eftenterre/Francaise Thevenot/Elisabeth Pistorio; music: Francais Wertheimer and Orchid, with lyrics by Miss Varda; cast: Valerie Mairesse (Pauline, called Apple), Therese Liotard (Suzanne), Ali Raffi (Darius), Robert Dadies (Jerome), Francis Lemaire (Apple's father), Mona Mairesse (Apple's Mother), Jean-Pierre Pellegrin (Dr. Pierre Aubanel), Agnès Varda (Narrator); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: NR; Columbia TriStar Home Video; 1977-France-French with English subtitles and an English narration)|
|"Sweet feminist charmer."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
("The Gleaners and I"/"Cleo From 5 to 7"/"Vagabond") is the writer-director of this sweet
feminist charmer that tells parallel stories of two young women who are
opposites, one is conventional and the other a non-conformist, and
after becoming close friends in 1962, in Paris, take different paths as
each faces many adversities before they reunite in 1976. Varda provides
an English narration.
In the opening scenes, the
17-year-old rebellious high school student, Pauline (Valerie Mairesse), befriends
the serious-minded 22-year-old Suzanne (Therese Liotard), who is the
unmarried mother of two toddlers. Pauline lies to her parents to get
money so the unhappy Suzanne can have an abortion, and is with her when
her married photographer lover, Jerome (Robert
Dadies), is found dead in his
studio after hanging himself because he was despondent about being
unable to get a divorce and not being a commercially successful
Suzanne goes back to live
with her hostile parents in the country to raise her kids and Pauline
becomes a hippie street singer, and is now called Apple. Pauline is the
one who sings in this relationship story. While Apple attends an
abortion clinic in Amsterdam she meets a handsome Iranian economist,
Raffi). She marries him in Iran
after leaving Paris because she's upset that a government sponsored
cultural project refuses to fund her musical play after promising it
would. But she soon finds Iran an impossible country for her to live as
a foreign woman. The pregnant Apple returns to Paris to have the child,
but Darius returns with the baby boy to Iran when she refuses to
accompany him there.
Meanwhile the two friends
keep contact through the years by postcard. We learn that Suzanne gets
factory work and studies to become a medical secretary and thereafter
runs a family planning clinic in the south of France. The girls meet
again some ten years later at a rally for abortion rights in Paris.
Apple travels around the countryside as a free-spirited street singer,
with an activist troubadour community while Suzanne marries a kindly
Pellegrin) when he gets
divorced. Some fourteen years later, in 1976, the women meet again and
find they have greatly changed. They have different personalities and
backgrounds and have taken opposite paths to reach fulfillment as
independent women, and rejoice knowing they did things their own way
and things worked out just fine.
Though lacking an edge and
not too concerned with any scars left from their struggles, this gentle
women's lib film (it shows no animosity to men and spares us any harsh
feminist rhetoric) gleefully plays out as a romantic escapist fantasy
film for the ladies. This is a good thing in a medium dominated by pics
of male fantasies, as this one resonates with a refreshing sense of
warmth and sincerity and the two lead actresses were astonishingly good
in establishing their characters. Varda's theme runs with Simone De
Beauvoir's aphorism that "Women are made, not born," and by the
conclusion it seems she might have something there.
REVIEWED ON 3/15/2010 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ