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aka - It's My Life
France 1962
Directed by
Jean-Luc Godard
85 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Vivre Sa Vie

Jean-Luc Godard's fourth feature is one of his more accessible and engaging films, slight in content yet offering many delights, not least of which is by Raoul Coutard's images of contemporary Paris and one which appeals to cinéastes (it won Special Jury Prize at Venice) as much for what it contravenes as for what it is in itself.

The director’s then wife, Anna Karina, plays, Nana, an aspiring 22-year-old Parisian actress who resorts to prostitution to make ends meet. Part voyeurism, part sympathetic meditation, the story is told in a diaristic fashion and is a companion piece to the previous year's Une Femme Est Une Femme (1961).

Based on a book by Marcel Sacotte and playing with the conventions of the B-film (a relation stated in the opening titles) it was innovative in its day and still possesses a remarkable lightness of touch, thanks not a little to the felicitous black and white photography which very much literalizes the reality of film as a series of still photographs.

Being Nouvelle Vague, there’s the usual intellectual enhancements - the film opens with a quote from Montaigne, Nana goes to the cinema to watch Carl Dreyer's silent classic, Le Passion De Jeanne d'Arc, (1927), there is an extended scene in which she discusses the meaning of life with a philosopher in a Left Bank café - not to mention the formal distancing devices such as the opening sequence in which both characters keep their backs to the camera. And, of course, there’s the frisson of self-reflexivity in the parallel between the character of the aspiring actress abused by her pimp and the Karina/Godard actor/director relationship.




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