Close Up

3 February 2019: Take Two: Two or Three Things I Know About Her / Belle de Jour


Two or Three Things I Know About Her
Jean-Luc Godard, 1967, 87 min
French with English subtitles

"The “her” of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 masterpiece […] is Paris in the throes of redevelopment. It’s also a Parisian housewife (the glowing Marina Vlady) who moonlights – or, rather, daylights – as a prostitute in order to afford the luxuries of urban living. Less a narrative than a succession of loosely interconnected scenes laced with Godard’s whispered musings on everything from the origins of language to the war in Vietnam, 2 or 3 Things finds one of cinema’s greatest innovators at the height of his playfulness, quoting his earlier films, making astringent observations about the individual’s relationship to the city and flooding the screen with candy-colored wide-screen compositions worthy of a Hollywood musical. To quote the film: "Living in society today is like living in a vast comic strip."" – Film Society of Lincoln Center

Belle de Jour
Luis Buñuel, 1967, 101 min
French with English subtitles

"Though the most popular of Buñuel’s films from his late French period, Belle de Jour may also be one of the most radical. The film is perhaps as duplicitous as its lovely protagonist Séverine. Appearing to lead a respectable existence with a successful, handsome husband, she behaves icily chaste with patient Pierre in the bedroom while secretly indulging in fetishistic daydreams. Caught between the gaze of saintly Pierre and that of lecherous men like his friend Husson, she begins to lead another life at a nearby brothel. Her sexual and emotional needs may be deeper, stranger and more complex than either man could ever allow in their rigidly circumscribed narratives. Or are they? Belle de Jour is a pristine psycho-cinematic puzzle – imparting to the viewers as much or as little profundity as they are willing to entertain." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Luis Buñuel