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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • French Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary by Adrian Martin
  • Archival television interviews: the first featuring Vlady on the set of the film, the second with Godard engaged in debate with a government official on the subject of prostitution
  • New video interview with Godard friend Antoine Bourseiller
  • A visual essay cataloguing the multiple references in the film

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Jean-Luc Godard
Starring: Marina Vlady
1967 | 84 Minutes | Licensor: Rialto Pictures

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #482
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: July 21, 2009
Review Date: July 3, 2009

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SYNOPSIS

In 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle) Jean-Luc Godard beckons us ever closer, literally whispering in our ears as narrator. About what? Money, sex, fashion, the city, love, language, war: in a word, everything. Considered by many to be among the legendary French filmmaker's finest achievements, the film takes as its ostensible subject the daily life of Juliette Janson (Marina Vlady), a housewife from the Paris suburbs who prostitutes herself for extra money. Yet this is only a template for Godard to spin off into provocative philosophical tangents and gorgeous images. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is perhaps Godard's most revelatory look at consumer culture, shot in ravishing widescreen color by Raoul Coutard.

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PICTURE

Criterion presents Jean-Luc Godardís 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this dual-layer disc. The picture has been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

This DVD is being released at the same time as Criterionís Made in U.S.A. (Godard made the films at about the same time) and in comparison to that release the image is not as strong but still quite good. This may have a little more to do with the shooting style: While colourful the film does look a little more muted but I can only guess this is the intended look (like Made in U.S.A. this is my first time seeing the film.)

The transfer is strong, presenting a fairly sharp image that can get a little soft around the edges at times, but it can be sharp enough where grain is noticeably present. Artifacts are minimal but I noticed some minor edge-enhancement in a couple of exterior long shots. And again while colours as a whole are certainly not as strong as the ones present in Made in U.S.A. (which again I assume is intended) they do look perfectly saturated. When the colours are brighter they are quite vibrant and strong.

The print has some minor imperfections including a few bits of debris and a few lines running through (similar to Made in U.S.A.) but overall the restoration looks to have been quite thorough.

If I seem a little less than thrilled with it itís only because I came to it right after Made in U.S.A. which actually blew me away. Itís still a strong transfer, though, and again itís a shame that Criterion didnít release this on Blu-ray as well. The format would most certainly benefit the film.

8/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

Like Made in U.S.A. the French Dolby Digital mono track suits the film but isnít going to impress anybody, even for a mono track. Godardís whispering narration is a tad rough around the edges yet intelligible but the rest of the dialogue sounds rather sharp. There are a fair share of sudden, loud sound effects but they can come off a little harsh. I suspect any shortcomings have to do with the source, but as it stands the track is decent enough.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Like Made in U.S.A. Criterion has released this Godard film as a lower-tier title yet have still included some rather wonderful supplements.

The most pleasant surprise, and one added after the initial announcement of the title, is a 2006 audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin, which I believe originally appeared on the Australian DVD for the film. Iím glad Criterion put in the effort into licencing it as itís a rather wonderful scholarly track on the film. In it Martin talks about this period of Godardís career and how this film (along with Made in U.S.A.) marks his transition into his later more political work. He explains its roots as a film essay and breaks it down, explaining Godardís intentions and many of the filmís references and even examines the filmís visuals, use of sound, its themes of consumer culture, compares it to other films (specifically Vivre sa vie) and even breaks down the coffee scene. I even liked it more because, despite his obvious admiration of the film, he doesnít think itís perfect even admitting he wasnít sure what to make of it when he first saw it. But because of this and his growing appreciation for the film over the years itís a much better track. I rather enjoyed it and believe itís a must.

Following this is some archival footage. First is an interview with Marina Vlady made during the shooting of 2 or 3 ThingsÖ and runs about 7 and a half minutes. The interview segment is rather fluffy and short, most of the piece devoted to footage of Vlady being driven home from the set. She does talk about her first working experience with Godard which she explains she had to ease herself into, but the most interesting aspect of this feature is footage of her and Godard sitting down talking about a scene (one where he will be talking to her through an ear piece) where she looks a little bewildered. Other than that itís an interesting piece of archival footage but doesnít offer much about the film.

A little better is a 13-minute piece from a television show called ďZoomĒ featuring Jean-Luc Godard in a political debate with French government official Jean St. Geours talking about the current economical conditions in France which have lead to the subject of the film 2 or 3 ThingsÖ, housewives resorting to prostitution to make ends meet. Itís great footage and its inclusion here is rather wonderful. I was a little surprised how restrained Godard is, though, as I guess I was expecting him to be a little more abrasive with his opponent.

A rather fascinating 15-minute interview with theater director Antoine Bourseiller is the next supplement found on here. He talks about his friendship with Godard and all that he did for him through the years (even helping him financially when he could) and talks about the relationship between Godard and Anna Karina, recalling a very happy, lively couple. He then gets into the deterioration of the relationship and then Godardís turn to Maoism, which led him to pretty much cut off all ties to his old friends, including Bourseiller. I have to admit that as much as I appreciate Godard and his work and admire that a man can so stick to his beliefs there is a certain frustration every time I come across one of these stories about Godard blowing off his old friends as he really did do it in an unbelievably awful manner. This one at least has somewhat of a happy ending. While it doesnít really have anything to do particularly with 2 or 3 ThingsÖ, covering more what Godard was going through during this period, itís a rather wonderful interview and certainly worth viewing.

And like the Criterion DVD for Made in U.S.A. youíll also find a feature that points out the filmís references called 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her: A Concordance. Where the one on Made in U.S.A. worked more to point out the pop culture references in that film this one goes over the various novels and authors mentioned throughout the film. It only runs 10-minutes but covers everything rather extensively and works as a great companion to the commentary track.

The disc then concludes with the filmís original theatrical trailer.

The booklet first includes an essay by Amy Taubin who offers her own analysis of the film and the story behind it, expanding from the commentary on how Godard was influenced originally by an article on housewives having to resort to prostitution to make ends meet that appeared in ďLe nouvel observateurĒ. And while the original article isnít included anywhere on this release (only mentioned) you can find the anonymous letter sent in to ďLe nouvel observateurĒ by STELLA who confirms the article.

In all a rather satisfying release, beautifully covering the film, all of the features worth pouring through and in all they help in better understanding and appreciating this rather complicated and dense film.

9/10

CLOSING

Considering my fondness more towards Godardís early work than his later political works I was sort of shocked that I actually enjoyed this film a lot more than the companion Made in U.S.A. despite the fact that film does more closely resemble his early work. This film is a very overwhelming film but Criterionís scholarly supplements really help in expanding oneís appreciation and understanding of it, and Criterionís transfer is excellent. Itís a strong release on its own. But pair it with the supplements found on Made in U.S.A. and you get a great, rather thorough examination of Godard during this period. Together I think theyíre Criterionís strongest releases so far this year.


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