TWO OR THREE THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER (Deux ou Trois Choses Que Je Sais d'Elle) (director/writer: Jean-Luc Godard; cinematographer: Raoul Coutard; editors: Francoise Collin/Chantal Delattre; music: Ludwig van Beethoven; cast: Marina Vlady (Juliette Jeanson), Anny Duperey (Marianne), Roger Montsoret (Robert Janson), Jean Narboni (Roger), Christophe Bourseiller (Christophe), Marie Bourseiller (Solange), Raoul J. Lévy (The American); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Philippe Senne; New Yorker Films; 1967-France-in French with English dialogue)

"Jean-Luc Godard's discursive psychological urban drama gets by on sheer energy from what it loses through some of its ill-conceived conceits."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Jean-Luc Godard's discursive psychological urban drama gets by on sheer energy from what it loses through some of its ill-conceived conceits. That strength alone is enough to recommend it. Two or Three Things was filmed in 30 days simultaneously with Godard's "Made in USA;" one during the day, the other at night. 

Maria Vlady plays housewife Juliette Jeanson living in a drab suburb of Paris. She has two kids and is expecting a third, when she is asked by her new garage worker husband to go back into prostitution. So by day she remains with her family in the suburbs, but at night ventures into Paris to turn tricks. Besides being in many ways dated, the film becomes impenetrable at times--with the whoring scenes artificially filled with Godard's political and intellectual rap. It chronicles the 24 hour cycle in the life of the housewife-prostitute, coming to the hardly startling conclusion that money can't buy one happiness. It uses the heroine to target a number of disaffected Parisian mademoiselles to show, according to Godard, the hidden realities of everyday life.

Shot in CinemaScope by Godard's regular cinematographer Raoul Coutard, it juxtaposes Juliette's frustrations as a housewife and a prostitute comparing her torn life with a group of modern Parisian women she encounters. Godard has a chance to pontificate through his narration or wherever he can, about the woes of contemporary Paris life. For starters the Paris scene has lost its soul and the pace of life is too nerve-wracking and fast. He saves his most savage barbs rightfully for dissing the escalating violence in Vietnam, the dependence on television as a weaker source of empowerment than LSD, and the world’s loss of love in favor of pornographic sex.

This is Godard posing as the intellectual throwing down the gauntlet to the barbarians and affirming films as cinema for thought.

REVIEWED ON 3/20/2004        GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"