“From Apple to Suzanne, from Suzanne to Apple, this little postal traffic was a sign of a deep and rather inexplicable friendship.”
A middle-class French teen (Valerie Mairesse) helps her older neighbor (Therese Liotard) secure money for a much-needed abortion, and a lifelong friendship ensues.
One Sings, the Other Doesn’t is Belgian director Agnes Varda‘s unabashed paean to female solidarity. As a narrative, it’s not all that successful: several plot devices (particularly the final one, involving Mairesse, her Iranian husband, and their baby) are clearly contrived, and Varda’s voice-over (done in English, for some reason) adds an unnecessary sense of solemnity to the proceedings. Making matters worse, Pomme (Mairesse) is not a very good singer, and the lyrics of her band’s ultra-feminist hymns (“I am woman, I am me”) come across as ultra-laughable today. Yet the film on a whole is so goodhearted and idealistic that one hesitates to fault it (or Varda) very harshly; it’s best viewed as a quaint if dated fable of womanhood and grassroots feminism.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Therese Liotard as Suzanne
- Valerie Mairesse as Pomme
- A heartfelt portrait of female solidarity
Yes, simply for its historical importance.