Une femme est une femme - 1961 {Song of the Week}

May 12, 2011

Last night I watched A Woman is a Woman (or Une femme est une femme, which sounds much cooler), a Jean-Luc Goddard movie from 1961 starring Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo. I don't think I've had as much fun watching a movie in a long time.

Besides having a great cast and fun storyline, it also had a stupendous soundtrack! I'm especially smitten with the song Tu t'laisses aller by Charles Aznavour. This song has the most interesting lyrics. I would have never guessed what it was about if they hadn't shown the subtitles when the song was played in the film!!

Naturally, since I don't know French, I couldn't do a translation myself but I did manage to find one on the internet, and copied it here:

C'est drôle ce que t'es drôle à regarder / It’s funny how funny you are to look at
T'es là, t'attends, tu fais la tête / You’re there, you wait, you’re sulking
Et moi j'ai envie d'rigoler / And I feel like sneering
C'est l'alcool qui monte en ma tête / It’s the alcohol that gets to my head
Tout l'alcool que j'ai pris ce soir / All the alcohol that I took this evening
Afin d'y puiser le courage / So that I could draw the courage
De t'avouer que j'en ai marr' / To admit that I have had it
De toi et de tes commérages / with you and your old wives’ tales
De ton corps qui me laisse sage / with your body that leaves me virtuous
Et qui m'enlève tout espoir / and takes away all of my hopes

J'en ai assez faut bien qu'j'te l'dise / I’ve had enough I have to tell you
Tu m'exaspèr's, tu m'tyrannises / You irritate me, you tyrannize me
Je subis ton sal'caractèr / I endure your dirty character
Sans oser dir' que t'exagèr's / I don’t dare to tell you you exaggerate
Oui t'exagèr's, tu l'sais maint'nant / Yes, you exaggerate, you know it now
Parfois je voudrais t'étrangler / At times, I would strangle you
Dieu que t'as changé en cinq ans / God you have changed in five years
Tu l'laisses aller, Tu l'laisses aller / You let yourself go, you let yourself go

Ah ! tu es belle à regarder / Ah! you’re beautiful to look at
Tes bas tombant sur tes chaussures / your sagged stockings on your shoes
Et ton vieux peignoir mal fermé / With your old nightgown badly closed
Et tes bigoudis quelle allure / And your curling pins what an elegance
Je me demande chaque jour / I ask myself every day
Comment as-tu fait pour me plaire / How did you do to please me
Comment ai-j' pu te faire la cour / How could I ever court you
Et t'aliéner ma vie entière / Give up my whole life for you
Comm' ça tu ressembles à ta mère / That way you look like your mother
Qu'a rien pour inspirer l'amour / Who has nothing to inspire love

D'vant mes amis quell' catastroph' / In front of my friends what a disaster
Tu m'contredis, tu m'apostrophes / You contradict me, cut me short
Avec ton venin et ta hargne / With your venom and your petulance
Tu ferais battre des montagnes / You’d make the mountains fight
Ah ! j'ai décroché le gros lot / Ah! I drew the first prize
Le jour où je t'ai rencontrée / The day that I met you
Si tu t'taisais, ce s'rait trop beau / If you kept quiet, ‘t would be too nice
Tu l'laisses aller, Tu l'laisses aller / You let yourself go, you let yourself go

Tu es un'brute et un tyran / You are a brute and a tyrant
Tu n'as pas de cœur et pas d'âme / You have no heart and no soul
Pourtant je pense bien souvent / Nevertheless I often think
Que malgré tout tu es ma femme / That in spite of everything you’re still my wife
Si tu voulais faire un effort / If you would make an effort
Tout pourrait reprendre sa place / Everything could fall back into place
Pour maigrir fais un peu de sport / To slim down practice some sport
arranges-toi devant ta glace / Make yourself up in the mirror
Accroche un sourire à ta face / Put a smile on your face
Maquille ton cœur et ton corps / Make up your heart and your body

Au lieu d'penser que j'te déteste / Instead of thinking how I detest you
Et de me fuir comme la peste / And avoiding me like the plague
Essaie de te montrer gentille / Try to be nice
Redeviens la petite fille / Become that little girl again
Qui m'a donné tant de bonheur / Who gave me so much happiness
Et parfois comm' par le passé / And sometimes like in the past
J'aim'rais que tout contre mon cœur / I would love that close to my heart
Tu l'laisses aller, Tu l'laisses aller / You let yourself go, you let yourself go

Tu t'laisses aller
[Buy it]


Millie said...

Oh. My. Gosh.

I love it so much. Seriously.

Just another French song to get stuck in my head when I can't even pronounce the words! ;-D

Kim said...

This film has been on my to watch list for awhile but I think your post just encouraged me to watch it as soon as I can. Those screencaps are so fun. :)

Colette Saint Yves said...

You can't imagine how much i can love Charles Aznavour songs ! (And Charles too.)
"Tu t'laisse aller" is one of my favourites song of him in one of my Jean-Luc Godard favourite film.
I had the chance to met Aznavour in december, all my entire body was shaking !

You're blog is so good !!!


(If you want, here's some Charles Aznavour songs : "Et Pourtant", "Les plaisirs démodés", "Hier encore", "Emmenez-moi", "La Bohème" "Comme ils disent"...

; )

Terence Towles Canote said...

For the most part you can't go wrong with Goddard. And he did create a good soundtrack for Une femme est une femme!

Lisa said...

Such a calm, lilting little melody to have those lyrics! Great Aznavour fan, but I hadn't heard this one, thanks for posting!

Margaret Benbow said...

The best French movies have no fear. So wrenching, this cruel little song (which yet feels true) at the same venue with Karina's deathless, superb beauty.