My Life To Live (Vivre Sa Vie)

Watched: 30 January

An excellent Jean-Luc Godard film from the early 60s, made at the height of the director’s infatuation with his stunning star (and, by this point in time, his wife), Anna Karina. She is on great form as Nana, who in the course of twelve separate segments goes from being a wife and mother who works in a record store to a single woman working as a prostitute for a Parisian pimp. The verité style of earlier Godard films is present once again despite the fact that DP Raoul Coutard used a heavier camera on this shoot, which I think was fixed to the floor; there are many scenes in which the cinematographer shifts perspective back and forth during various conversations between characters, which is an effect I like, even though I’m not sure what it actually signifies. Maybe it’s just something cool for cool’s sake. The ending – which further reveals the extent of Godard’s obsession with American gangster films and guns, and doesn’t quite tally with the rest of the film – is brutal… and stings like a slap to the face. (****½)