Criterion Collection: Vivre Sa Vie

Criterion Collection: Vivre Sa Vie

4.8 6
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Cast: Anna Karina, Saddy Rebbot, André S. Labarthe

     
 

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Vivre Sa Vie presents 12 episodes in the life of a young woman who turns to prostitution to pay her rent. Each episode features a theatrical scene preceded by a title that lists the characters in the episode, its location, and a brief summary of the action. As he would throughout his career, director Jean-Luc Godard uses prostitution as a metaphor for both

Overview

Vivre Sa Vie presents 12 episodes in the life of a young woman who turns to prostitution to pay her rent. Each episode features a theatrical scene preceded by a title that lists the characters in the episode, its location, and a brief summary of the action. As he would throughout his career, director Jean-Luc Godard uses prostitution as a metaphor for both economic life in general and the position of the filmmaker under capitalism. Vivre Sa Vie stars Anna Karina, who was married to Godard at the time. Her performance was largely improvised as Godard refused to give Karina her lines until just before each scene was shot. In order to maintain the freshness of the performances, Godard rarely made more than one take of each shot. The film is shot in stunning black-and-white by Raoul Coutard. The improvised acting and fragmented story give the viewer the impression of watching a documentary about a woman's life that is also a series of essays about aesthetics and economics. In addition, the film's camera style presents a catalogue of alternatives to conventional shooting strategies.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Wheeler Winston Dixon
This typically brilliant film from Jean-Luc Godard was made during his blazing period of brilliance in the 1960s, when he seemed to make a movie every few months, all daringly original, and all completely different. Here, Godard casts his then-wife, Anna Karina, as a young woman who drifts into prostitution, shooting the entire film on actual locations in Paris, and making Karina's character, Nana Kleinfrankenheim, both real and accessible to the audience. There is Godard's customary philosophical interlude, in which Nana discusses her life with philosopher Brice Parain (playing himself) in an all-night cafe, and Godard uses very long takes with a pendulum dolly to bring added realism to their encounter. The film is structured in 12 sequences (just as Masculin/Feminin, a Godard film made three years after this, has exactly 15 scenes); one of the most affecting involves Nana attending a revival of Carl Th. Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), in which she identifies with Maria Falconetti as Dreyer's doomed protagonist. Shedding tears of compassion, Nana watches as Joan is adjudged guilty by an all-male court, and sent to her martyrdom -- an apt reference to Nana's own fate within Godard's film. Fittingly, the entire sequence is absolutely silent, as was Dreyer's film. In another remarkable section, as Nana interrogates her pimp on her duties as a prostitute in voice-over, Godard shows us in a series of quick cuts how mundane and shabby Nana's life will be. Godard's spare, observational style is perfectly in place here, and the film ranks as one of his greatest from his first period as an auteur. Vivre Sa Vie is a remarkable film on many levels, and a devastating commentary on the double standards of patriarchal society.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/20/2010
UPC:
0715515057110
Original Release:
1962
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:23:00
Sales rank:
6,135

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Audio commentary featuring film scholar Adrian Martin; Video interview with film scholar Jean Narboni, conducted by historian Noël Simsolo; Television iterview from 1962 with actress Anna Karina; Excerpts from a 1961 french television exposé on prostitution; Illustrated essay on La Prositution, the book that served as inspiration for the film; Stills gallery; Director Jean-Luc Godard's original theatrical trailers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anna Karina Nana Kleinfrankenheim
Saddy Rebbot Raoul
André S. Labarthe Paul
Guylaine Schlumberger Yvette
Eric Schlumberger Luigi
Gerard Hoffman Man Who Buys Nana
Brice Parain Himself, The Philosopher
Monique Messine Elizabeth
Dimitri Dineff A Youth
Jean-Luc Godard Voice Only
Peter Kassovitz A Young Man
Henri Attal Arthur
Odile Geoffrey Barmaid
Paul Pavel A Journalist
Gilles Queant A Man
Laszlo Szabo Wounded Man

Technical Credits
Jean-Luc Godard Director,Screenwriter
Pierre Braunberger Producer
Raoul Coutard Cinematographer
Agnès Guillemot Editor
Jacques Maumont Sound/Sound Designer
Michel Legrand Score Composer
Jackie Raynal Makeup
Bernard Toublanc-Michel Asst. Director
Guy Villette Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Vivre Sa Vie
1. A Café - Nana Wants to Give Up - Paul - The Pinball Machine [9:35]
2. The Record Shop - 2000 Francs - Nana Saves Her Life [3:31]
3. The Concierge - Paul - The Passion of Joan of Arc - A Journalist [7:50]
4. The Police - Nana Is Questioned [2:52]
5. The Boulevards - The First Man - The Room [4:47]
6. Meeting Yvette - A Café in the Suburbs - Raoul - Gunshots In the Street [8:38]
7. The Letter - Raoul Again - The Champs-Élysés [8:52]
8. Afternoons - Money - Sinks - Pleasure - Hotels [4:01]
9. A Young Man - Luigi - Nana Wonders Whether She's Happy [7:21]
10. The Streets - A Guy - Happiness Is No Fun [5:24]
11. Place Du Chàtelet - A Stranger - Nana, The Unwitting Philospher [11:00]
12. The Young Man Again - "The Oval Portrait" - Raoul Trades Nana [9:49]
1. A Series Of Propositions [9:35]
2. Freedom and Constraint [3:31]
3. Aware of the Direction [7:50]
4. Blocks Of Her Story [2:52]
5. The Score [4:47]
6. Misery Of Working-Class Life [8:38]
7. Camera Pen [8:52]
8. Sacotte's Book [4:01]
9. Generic Pop Rock [7:21]
10. Posing [5:24]
11. Brice Parain [11:00]
12. Vampirism [9:49]

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Criterion Collection: Vivre Sa Vie 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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