A Flirtatious Woman (Jean-Luc Godard, 1955, France)

Une femme coquette (A Flirtatious Woman) is a 1955 short film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, and based on the story "Le Signe" by Guy de Maupassant. Long thought to be lost, Une femme coquette was eventually discovered. The film was financed from the proceeds of Godard's first film - Operation Concrete. The film opens with a young woman writing a letter to a man named Francoise, about having betrayed her lover. The voiceover narration, a key aspect of the French New Wave, already shows the direction Godard was headed in as a filmmaker. 

We see the woman writing, and the narration continues as she narrates her day, walking along the street. She spots a woman in a window across the street, who intrigues her. The woman, she realizes, is smiling at every man who passes under her window. The men would come up to see her, and our narrator is astounded with a mix of curiosity and concern. But ultimately, she admires this woman. The liveliness and verite style of the street scenes also shows the direction Godard was headed in as a feature filmmaker. 

Our narrator has the idea to do the same thing as this woman, and wonders if it would succeed. She begins thinking if she should approach a man on the bench, her indecision visible. Godard intercuts between our narrator and the man reading the newspaper on the bench, as the classical strings swell. She then decides to smile at the man, but he responds and she runs away. She tells the man it was a mistake, but he takes it as an advance and begins to follow her. The camera flows along the streets, following the woman back to her home. Back in her diary, the woman confesses that she gave in, and asks Francoise for forgiveness. 


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