One Sings, the Other Doesn't

1977

Drama / History

115
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 822

Synopsis


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May 28, 2020

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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.09 GB
1280*720
French 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
120 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.03 GB
1920×1080
French 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
120 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 10 / 10 / 10

the opposite of Cleo, and yet just as magnificent: 15 years in the lives of two amazing women

A lot of times when a story is told, a filmmaker has to figure out how to frame the principal characters. And if it's a story being told over many years, like for the characters in One Sings, the Other Doesn't, the director needs to know how to take the time out to show... time and how it unfolds. What makes this film so special is that Agnes Varda has such a love for human beings across the board here - even, perhaps against her better judgment, the supporting men like Jerome (the baby daddy of Suzanne's kids, who we mostly see early in the film), or Darius (Pauline's Iranian lover) - that the plotlessness is more than fine. She has an innate confidence that we can follow these women and their lives because they're just that interesting. My first instinct was to compare it to Boyhood, as far as showing lives being lived and change happening not due to one distinct thing but through a series of moments and things making change seem imperceptible. But this really has more of a novelistic take on Suzanne and Pauline, the details of how they behave and see each other and free will (a very important beat for Pauline early on - she brings it up to her teacher outside of class before asking if she knows anyone who does abortions for her friend Suzanne), and then what are commonly called "women's rights" like pro-choice and just being able to work and *Be* women. Of course for Varda, as it should be for rational thinking people, these aren't "women's" issues but basic human rights. I should mention here I had a not worry but question going into this: were the "issues" that were mentioned in the synopsis, about how there's abortion being a big deal for Suzanne early in the story, and then how Suzanne works for a women's health center (i.e. for reproductive reasons, at the time France didn't have legality for abortion), and then especially how Pauline finds her calling as a singer and, most importantly, as one who finds her voice as an artist singing about being a woman and with her hippie-ish group of women singers and musicians. Were the issues going to overwhelm the narrative? I shouldn't have fretted; Varda certainly has fun staging these very loose musical sequences (one might try to dub this a musical, but something like Nashville then is more of a musical than this, where characters in a grounded reality sing their songs within the story - here it... kind of blends that line, but just barely), but while her leads are proud feminists that's not what *has to* define them. In a way this sticks back to the free will scene earlier on, albeit for Suzanne, as we see in her flashbacks when Varda flashes from 1962 to 72 that she had to work her way up to becoming part of the women's health center (lots of typing, even in, darn, the barn): Suzanne and Pauline in each of their ways practice free will, and it can't help but be tied to political and social concerns (not "issues" either, that labels it too simplistically). And really if we don't like these people, why should we stick through it amid the social commentary? This is a surprisingly ambitious movie in some ways; Varda's film goes from France - cities and rural parts - to Amsterdam to Iran and then back to France rural parts again, and when she cuts suddenly from a conversation bit between Pauline and Darius to Iran there just has to be a narration reminding us how postcard-like this image she cuts to is. 'One Sings' has something like, I don't know and lost count, about 400 scenes it seems like, some of them quite short, and a lot of time narration from Suzanne and Pauline (reading their letters as they are most often pen pals), and Varda herself as the sort of God of this story (as well she is!) The one mark I could make against it is that it starts to go/feel a little long near the end, and yet at the same time I felt that impulse or criticism or observation and fought against it in the theater watching this; I wanted to be with these women longer - Varda's chronology makes it where the story could end in any number of spots (once we understand what Pauline's seemingly instinctual/maternal plan is with Darius, a kinda-sorta-not-quite separation where he gets a kid and then he knocks her up so she can have another in respective countries, that last third or so seems set as a loose story with something to look forward to if not an end), and yet it's such a warm and generous kind of storytelling all through this. Sometimes a filmmaker feels like he or she (usually he) is directing a story to a specific place and we can intuit where it might be headed - it doesn't make it any less entertaining or engaging, but the formula is part of the pact we make with the film. Varda, to equate it to painting, has all of these little strokes she's doing, and at first it doesn't seem like it will amount up to much, and yet this gradualness brought me closer to Suzanne and Pauline (and, as well, the performances, Mairesse especially, got deeper and more tremendously felt as it went on), and the sense of play is wrapped up in a unique presentation: it's drama, but we aren't made to ask "What does this scene have to be ABOUT?" all the time; it's documentary, but then dialog is breaking it up; it's musical, but for a long stretch it isn't. It's the cinematic equivalent of a river-boat journey through 15 years of... life, and for women specifically, that can't be tossed aside.

Reviewed by dromasca 9 / 10 / 10

feminine and feminist

Agnès Varda's retrospective at the local cinema gave me the opportunity to watch for the first time 'One Sings, the Other Doesn't' (the original title in French is 'L'une chante l'autre pas'). The story in this film takes place in the France of the '60s and' 70s, which is presented by the militant director Agnes Varda from a feminine perspective, a world in which women are the center of attention, the heroines of the story and of the society. A beautiful movie, at the end of which the spectator, if not already a feminist, has good chances to become one. The heroines of the film, Suzanne and Pauline, meet in the early 1960s in Paris. Suzanne (Thérèse Liotard) is a few years older, and is in a relationship with a photographer, talented but unable to support the family that already has two young children. Pauline (Valérie Mairesse), still a rebellious high school student blessed with the gift of singing, will help her get rid of a third unwanted pregnancy. After the tragic death of Suzanne, the heroines' roads split. Suzanne is forced to return to her parents in a remote village, Pauline (also called Pomme - Apple) will follow her vocation and especially her thirst for freedom by becoming the singer. They will meet again 12 years later on the barricades of the fights for the right of choice on abortions. From now on their life stories are presented in parallel, in a combination of off-voice read fragments of long, but never written letters. Each of the two will meet a man, but the men in Varda's films never seem to be quite adequate. Neither the medical doctor Suzanne meets, nor the Iranian economist (Darius - Ali Rafie) who will fall in love with Pomme, are exceptions. The connection between Pomme and Darius provides the opportunity of a secondary action thread, a slightly Orientalist love story between the French liberated woman and the Iranian man, which will include for Pomme the cultural shock of a trip to Iran in 1976. From the perspective of the over 40 years since 'One Sings, the Other Doesn't' was made, it is extremely interesting to watch the fight of heroines for the right to decide on their own destiny and the encounter between the two so different cultures, the French and the Iranian - and we are still two years before Islam came to power in Iran!. Both themes are still very actual. The beauty of the film comes from different places. First of all, I loved the passion, the warmth and the empathy with which the female universe is built, the world where the stories of the two women take place, the relationship of friendship and trust that flourishes between them at the beginning and resists all the challenges that the two of them have to face. Their interpretations are also remarkable, especially the one of Valérie Mairesse who was 20-21 years old when the film was filmed. The part of the composition in her role was actually the one in which she plays a woman in her 30s. She is wonderful. The digital remastering is excellent. Agnes Varda herself has the chance to lead the process and that not only saves films from inherent destruction on film format and promises a longer lifetime in the future, but also emphasizes the colors that play an important role in her films. 'One Sings, the Other Doesn't' is a movie that deserves to be seen for many reasons and has the chances of being enjoyed today at least as much as 43 years ago.

Reviewed by larrys3 9 / 10 / 10

Sweeping Saga

The highly acclaimed French filmmaker Agnes Varda, who recently passed at the age of 90, wrote and directed this sweeping saga. It centers on the friendship of Pauline (Valerie Mairesse) and Suzanne (Therese Liotard) over the course of two decades the 1960's and 70's. The two women will occasionally meet over the years but a lot of their communication will be by postcard. They're both active feminists and willing to help other women with pregnancies and actions to take against what they consider to be oppressive abortion laws, giving the film relevance in today's times. Overall, I just found this movie to be bristling with vitality, but presented in a low-key style, as the two women grapple with relationships, families, and life itself. The acting by Mairesse and Liotard, and the supporting cast, is natural and their characters believable, in my opinion. For those viewers that enjoy sweeping foreign films there's a lot to like here.

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