According to the book A Short History of the Movies, the film movement known as the French New Wave is defined in two ways:
“(1) In France in 1956-1960, the sudden appearance, on many fronts, of a host of brilliant films by directors who had not previously made features or whose earlier work had gone unnoticed…(2) Any sudden appearance of many exciting new filmmakers in a country whose films have been undistinguished – and many have done little or no international business for a long time” (735).
Director/auteur Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 film Une Femme Mariée (A Married Woman), is an intriguing and seemingly experimental film about love, infidelity, and choices. As the editors of A Short History of the Movies state: “[the film] is an analysis of the commodification of women, marriage, “beauty,” and “romance” in modern society” (415). It’s a thought-provoking film that leaves the audience with lots of unanswered questions.
Keep in mind that this is a French New Wave era film from one of France’s most respected directors. What this means is if you are expecting big-budget car chases, special effects, or fast-paced editing, you will be disappointed. Une Femme Mariée is a character piece, and analysis of people in a slice-of-life narrative.
On that same note, while to storyline is somewhat linear, there are moments where characters are “interviewed” about their thoughts and opinions on themes and other matters presented in the film. These segments are designated by title cards that indicated what the topic of the “interview” will be.
This is a subtitled film (unless you know French, you will have to read), which may take some viewers out of the experience of watching the movie. For others, like myself, one of the challenges is to read the subtitles while still paying attention to the action taking place on-screen. It can get tricky at times, which makes me glad the ‘pause’ button on the remote is around.
For a film from 1964 there is a lot of partial nudity, sexual dialogue, and other adult themes that are not suitable for children. I recommend you show your kids another 1964 film instead: Disney’s Mary Poppins.
I was surprised that there were no special features included on the DVD. Not even audio commentary by one of Godard’s biographers or a film historian is present.
If you are a student of film, enjoy international cinema, or are looking for something different than the fare at the local Cineplex, Une Femme Mariée (A Married Woman) is a film I recommend.