11 February 2012
Godard's trailer for "Vivre sa Vie." Ana Karina. Movies about their own movieness.
In an essay on the film, Michael Atkinson writes:
Vivre sa vie, broken up into twelve “tableaux,” otherwise spends an enormous amount of its time watching Karina watch and listen to others—trying to figure her out as Nana attempts, and fails, to navigate an unsympathetic world. Her one moment of release is, of course, the film’s most famous scene: the viewing of Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc in a silent, pitch-black theater, and Nana’s open weeping in pity and self-pity at Falconetti’s saucer-eyed martyr. There’s little overestimating the impact this tiny moment had on cinema at large—in a stroke, Godard iconized the Cinémathèque française lifestyle, an entire generation’s discovery of film as an art form, the capacity of classic cinema-going to be tragic and romantic and supercool, and the quintessentially Godardian idea that movies are always about their own movieness, making them not an escapist alternative to our lives but part of them. Nana is not merely being diverted by the film (she’s been kicked out of her apartment for lack of rent) but living it. Movie characters had watched films in darkened theaters before, but never had we been made to empathize so directly with the act of movie watching, and never before had that act meant so much. Watching both actresses, we are Karina, and for a brief time, we and Godard know exactly how she feels..
read the essay here