Jean-Luc Godard, Une Femme Mariée: Fragments d'un Film Tourné en 1964 (1964), synopsis.

A Married Woman: Excerpts from a Movie Shot in 1964 (1964), synopsis.

Norman N. Holland


    The movie opens with a white frame penetrated by two hands, the surface of the sheet on which Charlotte (Macha Méril) is lying with her lover, Robert, an actor (Bernard Noël), in an apartment he has rented for their meetings. They get dressed and leave in his car, but she then takes one taxi, then another to hide from the detectives her husband Pierre (Philippe Leroy) may have set on her trail. She picks up his child from a previous marriage, Nicholas (Christophe Bourseiller), at school and meets her him at the airport. Pierre pilots a small private airplane, and he brings home for dinner his passenger from Germany, Roger Leenhardt, a “real” person, a philosopher-filmmaker.

    At this point the film breaks into a series of interviews. Pierre speaks on behalf of memory and the past, then Charlotte praises the present. Leenhardt praises intellect and reason and compromise, and Nicholas describes the creation of a picture. After the dinner, Charlotte and Pierre romp around with some records he has brought and apparently resume their sexual relations.

     They remain lovers for two days, or, perhaps, long enough for Pierre to begin to need a haircut. Charlotte’s cleaning lady, Mme. Céline (Rita Maiden) delivers a long monologue about a joyous sexual episode, taken from Céline’s novel, Death on the Installment Plan. Next Charlotte visits a swimming pool where a photographer photographs the women—we see the negatives. There she overhears two young girls discussing the plans by one of them to lose her virginity. Charlotte then consults a gynecologist where she learns that she is pregnant. We get another interview, this time about contraception and sexual pleasure, and he is interviewed about contraception and pleasure and pregnancy.

    Charlotte then goes for another assignation with Robert in an airport hotel as he leaves to play in Racine’s Bérénice in Marseilles. In one final interview he describes the feelings of an actor. Then Charlotte helps him rehearse the scene of parting from the tragedy. Their hands on the sheet withdraw from the film frame, leaving simply a white frame. “C’est fini,” she says. “The End” says the screen. Back to the explication.



The End

—N. N. H.