One Sings, the Other Doesn't

L'une chante, l'autre pas

Agnès VardaFrance120 minutes197714AColourFrench

View One Sings, the Other Doesn't during the One Sings, the Other Doesn't with Sarah Gadon event.

Six years after Varda added her name to the Manifesto of the 343 — a declaration by 343 women publicly proclaiming that they had had an abortion, despite the procedure still being illegal in France — she made this remarkable combination of social commentary and musical about a woman's right to choose. One Sings, the Other Doesn't is a decade-spanning chronicle of the friendship between two women, Suzanne (Thérèse Liotard) and Pauline (Valérie Mairesse), who first meet in 1962 when the teenage Suzanne, who is already a mother of two, decides to get an abortion. The film then jumps ten years ahead, finding the pair at very different stages in their lives — Suzanne is pursuing a career in family planning, while Pauline is an activist and a member of an all-female political protest band — but still deeply connected by their friendship. Dedicated to Varda's daughter Rosalie (who makes an appearance in the film), One Sings, the Other Doesn't is the rare film to treat the subject of abortion absent histrionics or hand-wringing, and in the process offers an alternate, utopic vision of what family can look like.