Friday 3 November 2017

My Life to Live (Vivre sa Vie: Film en Douze Tableaux) (1962)

Livet skal leves
I guess Godard and I will never really be friends. And if we do, it will not be through “Vivre sa vie” (“My Life to Live”).

“Vivre sa Vie” is a movie about a girl, Nana (Anna Karina), who works in a record store in Paris and owes some money. She meets a pimp who sets her up as a prostitute and later she gets killed when the pimp tries to sell her to some other pimp. In between she watches movies (Jeanne d’Arc), listens to poetry and talk with a philosopher.

That is about it.

Oh, and the presentation is as twelve small stories, almost vignettes, which sometimes, sometimes not, fit chronologically together.

The story is so thin and apparently pointless that there must be a deeper story behind. Especially with the references to Dreyer, Poe and the philosopher dude. However, I am obviously too stupid to get that story. Or maybe this movie was just too boring for me to care to find the deeper meaning. The Book describe it as a masterpiece so, clearly, I am way off-track.

Frankly I have little more to say about the movie. As usual it is nice going around in Paris in 1962 and see what it looked like and then of course there is Anna Karina herself.

Anna Karina is a bit of a discovery. She was, it appears, a famous actress in the sixties and seventies and an accomplished singer as well, but I do not recall having encountered her before, except for an early review of “Alphaville”. This is quite surprising because she happens to be Danish, originally called Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer, and we tend to take credit for any success achieved by anybody with the most tenuous connection to Denmark. Alas, in Denmark she is practically unknown. Or maybe I am just too young.

She does have a captivating appearance and she is the one thing that makes this movie bearable. Likely I am going to see her a lot more because she was used by Godard as Sternberg used Dietrich and the List just loooves Godard…

If anybody has a clue what this movie is actually about, do drop me a line.



  1. No clue here. I think it's just an empty exercise in style personally. At least we get to look at Karina.

    Looks like you're about to finish with 1962. I've got a week or two to go myself.

  2. An exercise in style, yes, I can agree to that.

    I just have one more movie to go and then I am done with 62. This year has taken longer than usual. 63 looks like a lot of experimental movies. I am not sure I am looking forward to that.

  3. I have some off-list recommendations if you are tempted to go that route again.

    1. Please. The three off-list movies I included for 1962 were all excellent. What do you suggest?

  4. The big miss for the List in 1963 is Kurosawa's High and Low. The other two are British films: Billy Liar and This Sporting Life. The protagonist is pretty unlikeable in This Sporting Life but it's some of the best acting you will ever see. On the science fiction front, Day of the Triffids is listed by IMDb as a 1963 film and I think you will love it.

    1. Sounds super interesting. I think the Kurosawa movie and the Triffids moovie could be good additions. I will have to look up the British films an see what they are about. Thank, Bea.