Charlotte lives in the moment without second thought, barely surviving an emotional crash landing with her husband and trapped in the illusion of an affair. Jean-Luc Godard’s introspective double exposure concerns the empowerment of pop culture upon the self, where life not only mirrors fiction…but is devoured by it.
Charlotte is a product, packaged and sold like the cheap advertising that dominates the compositions, concerned with magazine articles that demand the perfect breast size, or a device whose electronic bleating molds her posture. Charlotte is fragmented in close-up compositions that reveal her parts, never quite forming a whole. She exists in a ethereal cinematic fog where movies define her life, jumping from taxi to taxi like the cold empty bodies of her husband and lover, living the lie of the mistress like some cheap B flick chick. Abused by her husband, devolved into a totemic bourgeoisie marriage, she seeks refuge in the arms of an actor.
Godard structures the film with aesthetic precision, dovetailing the narrative with an emotional symmetry that echoes Charlotte’s existential turmoil. He mirrors specific compositions and dialogue involving her two disparate lovers, creating a palpable tension in contrasting their dissimilarities and Charlotte’s acceptance of her position: is it love if it’s from behind? Godard also reduces Charlotte’s thoughts to vapid text, ignominious headlines that shout epithets, like the analogue recording of a laughing woman, sound without fury. Illusion and reality merge towards a nexus of hands, clasped in desperate isolation.
Final Grade: (B+)