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