Two or Three Things I Know About Her (2 ou 3 Choses Que Je Sais d'elle) (1967)

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Released 8-Nov-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Adrian Martin Snr .R'search Fellow Film & Telivision Studies
Short Film-Tous Les Garcons s'Appelent Patrick By Jean-Luc Godard
Theatrical Trailer
Booklet-Essay By Dr Adrian Danks, Head Of Cinema Studies RMIT Uni
Trailer-Les Comperes, Wings Of Desire, La Strada, PlayTime,
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1967
Running Time 93:40 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jean-Luc Godard
Studio
Distributor
Madman
Madman Entertainment
Starring Joseph Gehrard
Marina Vlady
Anny Duperey
Roger Montsoret
Raoul Lévy
Jean Narboni
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Ludwig Van Beethoven


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, By the Parisian Bucketload
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Silence

"Let me tell you in silence two or three things I know about her.

Her, the ruthlessness of capitalism.
Her, prostitution.
Her, the Paris region.
Her, the bathroom 70% of French people do not have.
Her, the awful legislation on housing developments.
Her, the physics of love.
Her, the way we live today.
Her, the Vietnam War.
Her, the modern call girl.
Her, the death of human beauty.
Her, the flow of ideas.
Her, the structural Gestapo
 
2 or 3 Things I know About Her
A French film by Jean-Luc Godard

    Jean-Luc Godard and his French Nouvelle Vogue collaborators spent the early 1960s revolutionizing cinema. Instead of the set-heavy, tightly scripted and edited dramas of the past they produced vibrant films featuring young people on the edge, shot in and around the streets of Paris at its most breathtakingly hip. Films such as Truffaut's  Jules et Jim (1962) and Godard's own À bout de soufflé (Breathless) (1960) and Bande A Part (1964) were stylish frenetic works which influenced a generation of film makers. By 1966 Godard had moved on from reinventing American B movies to challenging ideas of cinema in a different fashion. Events in Vietnam and France itself were to cause him to dedicate himself to Marxist beliefs and produce some difficult, often didactic works. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her represents a bold beginning to the era of Godard the essayist rather than the story teller. In audacious fashion he made the film in the afternoon whilst he was filming Made in USA in the morning. More a sociological examination than a film it is nonetheless a fascinating grab bag of ideas which flirts between the sometimes annoying and the profound. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her does not have a plot as such. It vaguely follows 24 hours in the life of a character. At the outset we meet actress Marina Vlady. She introduces herself to us and explains some of her features. The camera then moves off her and back again, at which time she introduces herself as her character, Juliette.

    Goddard was inspired to write the film after reading an article which suggested that women living in Paris in the 1960s had to prostitute themselves in order to survive. During the course of her day Juliette goes shopping, visits her husband at his garage, spends a few hours as a working girl and then returns home to play out happy families in the evening. As said, there is only a semblance of plot. Although there is dialogue in the film there is also an abundance of monologues, most of which are delivered directly to camera. Also, Godard himself whispers a voice-over, sometimes unreliable, of various thoughts and ideas. At the outset he explains that the her of the title is Paris. However, the extract above, from the theatrical trailer, gives a more open reading of the film. This is a sociological examination but one has the feeling that Godard kept at an idea until another one of equal interest popped up to him. At heart the film is about consumerism with anti-Americanism and linguistic theory thrown in. Juliette does prostitute herself to survive but survival for her seems often dependent upon the trappings of success such as her expensive wardrobe. Although the subject seems quite dry and the level of intellectual application required is extremely high, the film does at times achieve quite a mesmerising effect. Once scene in particular has a few characters in a cafe philosophising. In the background an old woman plays a pinball machine, probably a reference to American values. The noise of the pinball machine is continual and becomes extremely irritating. After a while it becomes almost the sound track to the dialogue and a voice in itself.

    Another famous scene shows the swirling froth on a short black. As the camera closes in the froth looks like nothing less than the universe. It is a stunning and thought provoking moment. No one should pretend, however, that this is easy viewing. For a lengthy part of the film Godard toys with ideas of language. Does language have any inherent meaning or only what we wish to give to it? Would green be any different if it was called blue, he muses? The appeal of the film is probably limited to film scholars and real cinema enthusiasts. Understanding it is no simple task. There is an 18 page insert essay by Dr Adrian Danks, the Head of Cinema Studies at RMIT University which assists in clarifying some of Godard's ideas and there is also an excellent commentary by Adrian Martin, a senior research fellow in film and television studies at Monash University. Although the film is enjoyable without the benefit of these guides, it really only truly comes to life when given a measure of explanation. This is partly because Godard is a deep thinker but also because the ideas that drive the work were peculiar to the 1960s. Having said that, I can imagine a new film maker could make some comment about consumerism today and the evil empire of the US that would have a similar effect.

    2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is a mind bending ideas film and gives as much ammunition to those who find Godard wilfully obscure and an intellectual elitist as it does comfort to those who find his cinema innovating and exquisite. The final scenes are both startling and chilling. Recommended for those who like their cinema challenging.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    2 or 3 Things I Know About Her comes to DVD in a 2.40:1 transfer which is close to its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This film is 16x9 enhanced and like Pierrot Le Fou of 1965 it was filmed in colour (Eastmancolor to be exact).

    The DVD case describes it as an all new restored print and it is generally in good condition. There are some holes in the print at 18:20 and 29:40 which are a bit pesky however, otherwise the film is reasonably intact. Whilst his earlier black and white films can be difficult to date, looking not much different than a Jim Jarmusch black and white film, the colour of this film has definitely faded and the print is a little softer than I would like. It is clearly a product of the 60s. The grain is quite heavy.

    However, it must be remembered that this was an art house film of 40 years ago and in some ways it is a miracle that it has even survived. There are subtitles in English which give a good account of the dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
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Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is presented with a French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kb/s) soundtrack. Godard was always revolutionary in his use of sound and this is a prime example. He uses the same Beethoven String Quartet no. 16 in snatches throughout and plays with the sound in interesting ways. Some scenes are entirely soundless and others feature the screeching noise of industry at work.

    The dialogue is all clearly rendered and appears to be in audio sync.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    A nice image of Marina Vlady speaking French with Beethoven backing.

Audio Commentary

    The commentary by Adrian Martin is another prime example of the excellent work of Australian cinema experts. Dealing with a work as intellectually high flown as 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is an open invitation to showing off but Martin handles the commentary in a nicely matter-of-fact fashion, giving insight into Godard and his works as well as attempting to explain 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her itself. This is not a scene by scene commentary and Martin frequently ventures off into detailed descriptions of Godard's influences through the era, including sociologists. It may be a criticism of the film that some of the ideas are extremely difficult to follow without some assistance from a scholar but in some ways this is no different than consulting a guide when reading Shakespeare. Godard speaks in film language which is sometimes hard to follow but always deserving of respect and attention.

Short Film

    As a great addition Madman have included on this DVD Jean-Luc Godard's short movie Tous les Garcons s'Apelent Patrick (All the Boys are Called Patrick). A collaborative effort involving Eric Rohmer and Francoise Trufffaut, this is a fun short film about two girls who are flat mates. One day they both are seduced by a confident young man. Using different pick-up lines on each, he manages to arrange a date with them, without them knowing that he is their joint desire. Made in 1957 it is no great shakes but it does introduce us to the free and open style of the French new wave. Presented in 4:3 but looking surprisingly good it is a great bonus to the DVD.

Theatrical Trailer

    The original theatrical trailer is worth watching for its own audacity. The trailer is entirely soundless and features the inter-titles written above. It does a pretty good job of summing up the film.

Booklet

    I have already mentioned the detailed insert essay by Dr Adrian Danks which is lengthy and erudite

Trailer

    There are trailers on the disc for other Director's Suite films.

    The DVD case speaks of original poster art work which is nowhere to be found on the disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is a DVD which has not received a special treatment in Region 1 or elsewhere. The Region 2 version only has a booklet and picture gallery. Amazon lists the Region 4 version on their Region 1 website. Way to go Region 4!

Summary

   2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is a pop art collage of a movie that is both alienating and entrancing in its stylistic techniques. Made just before Godard made politics his key agenda it is a fascinating and revolutionary film that is really only suited to the serious film student or the adventurous cinema lover.

    The transfer is particularly good given that the film is a low budget effort from 40 years ago. The extras are exceptional and essential to a full understanding of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DVR 630H-S, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TH-50PV60A 50' Plasma. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX - SR603
SpeakersOnkyo 6.1 Surround

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