This enchanting ode to female friendship and liberation from Agnès Varda (Faces Places) is part blissed-out bohemian musical, part revolutionary cri de cœur. Spanning more than a decade, One Sings, the Other Doesn’t traces the ups and downs—abortion, heartbreak, marriage, motherhood—of friends Pauline (Valérie Mairesse) and Suzanne (Thèrése Liotard). Even as their lives diverge, they remain devoted to one another while finding ways to empower other women: one as a traveling feminist folk singer, the other as a reproductive-rights activist.
Set against France’s pro-choice struggle—of which Varda herself was on the frontlines—the tender and intimate epic celebrates the power of women to lift one another up.
“Varda’s versatility, longevity and cheerful matriarch image have made her cinema’s most distinctive feminist role model, and the time is clearly right to rediscover different achievements of feminist history, meaning that One Sings, the Other Doesn’t couldn’t be more timely a re-release.” —Jonathan Romney, Film Comment
This screening of the digitally restored copy is courtesy of Janus Films.