Une femme coquette (found Jean-Luc Godard short; 1955)
Jean-Luc Godard, arguably the most famous filmmaker of the French New Wave film movement, is known worldwide for his vast output of highly acclaimed, often intellectually challenging films. Most of his catalog, particularly films such as Breathless and Contempt, are highly accessible and have been dissected many times over by filmgoers and critics alike. However, a small selection of his work is virtually inaccessible to the general public.
One such title is his second effort, Une femme coquette (literally: A Flirtatious Woman). According to Richard Brody's 2009 book, Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard, Coquette is a short film about a woman who attempts to woo a man by imitating the gestures she observed being performed by a prostitute. The outcome of this action isn't explicitly stated in the text, but the short itself is regarded as a very personal work with parallels to Godard's own longing to imitate the professional filmmakers whose work he has followed. To quote the author, "It is a film about watching, about trying to live what one has watched, and about living with yourself after doing something you regret; it is about money and what to do with ill-gotten gains; it is about prostitution--about doing for money what is properly done for love--and how someone unintentionally practices it by merely imitating the gestures of a professional." Perhaps it is because of these introspective themes that the film hasn't been widely seen.
An extensive article on the A.V. Club website details one cinephile's long, fruitless search for the film. A scan of an old program listing for the Museum of Modern Art shows that the short screened on February 16, 1968. The author also states the 16 mm film is screened publicly "at most twice a decade". From my own personal research, I can find no more than five documented screenings that actually occurred, the latest being in early 2014 at a Godard retrospective being shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. There is no written indication of how these festival organizers obtained a copy or who the current owners are.