Thursday, March 23, 2023


L'une chante l'autre pas (1977) - Varda screen shot 2023-03-14 at 9.36.17 am screen shot 2023-03-14 at 8.58.05 am screen shot 2023-03-14 at 2.29.37 pm screen shot 2023-03-14 at 2.12.45 pm screen shot 2023-03-14 at 2.54.49 pm screen shot 2023-03-14 at 2.47.34 pm screen shot 2023-03-14 at 2.47.58 pm One Sings, The Other Doesn't showcases a female friendship between Pomme (Valérie Mairesse) and Suzanne (Thérèse Liotard) for a decade and a half. With the women reproductive right's movement in the background, what's remarkable is Varda's penchant for natural, unhurried filmmaking that is neiter overly dramatic nor overtly political in its message.

Pomme, still in high school from a modest Parisian household, reconnects with Suzanne, an old neighborhood acquaintance whose sad portraits she sees in a photographer's studio. Suzanne happens to be a lover of the photographer and unwed mother of two and another one on the way. Struggling with poverty and living with a depressed man, she wants an abortion which was still illegal, the year is early 60s. Pomme lies to her parents about a school trip to give money to Susanne for an illigal abortion. After her parents find out about it, she quits school to pursue her singing career. Suzanne goes back to her provincial hometown after the photographer hangs himself in a suicide. They reconnect at the courtroom pro-abortion demonstration a decade later. Pomme belongs to a travelling female folk group, living with her Iranian boyfriend. Susanne has managed to leave her parents farm by becoming a typist, then opens a family planning facilities. Pomme Marries Darius in Iran and become pregnant but comes back to France after experiencing irresolvable cultural differences. And agreeing her child to be taken back to Iran with Darius, Pomme demands Darius to give her another child. Pomme and Susanne corresponds in letters.

Drawing these two very different women's life trajectories, Varda reflects the women and their sisterhood in the 70s France so beautifully. There is no pretention or acting in Mairesse and Liotard's performances. Drama comes in and out naturally as their characters lives flow forward. There are no morals to be learned. There's no judgment to be made with life's decisions that these women make. It is their decisions for them to make and live however they live. We are just glad to see these women exist in front of you and glad to see their life long friendship. In the epilogue, we see their friends and family in a picnic and it's as life should be - full of warmth and love and ever lasting friendship.

No comments:

Post a Comment