The fractured nature of modern life was the great theme of Jean-Luc Godard’s work. Some might even say the idea found him, rather than he it. The director started off wanting to make gangster films, but the results were so fragmented that he wound up practically stumbling across textures both enthralling and (especially later) infuriating.
Une Femme Marie, from 1964, isn’t often mentioned as one of Godard’s essentials, perhaps because it doesn’t have the anthemic power of Breathless or Pierrot le Fou. But in many ways, it marks the pivot point upon which the director’s career turned. Up until this one, even the most daring of Godard’s films had a certain narrative gusto. But Une Femme Marie (subtitled A Suite of Fragments from a Film Shot in 1964) goes off the reservation in its opening scene. Our naked heroine, Charlotte (Macha Mril), lies in bed with her lover, while Godard’s camera slices her body into a series of simple compositions. As Charlotte goes through the motions of her life (picking up her son, making small talk with her pilot husband, listening to her housekeeper talk about sex), Godard weaves a tapestry of thought, image and corporate signage to convey the sense of a person who has forgotten herself. The movie is all fits and starts, but it’s also beautiful and supremely melancholy. This disc has no extras, but then again, you won’t need any distractions.—Bilge Ebiri