This film explores a Parisian woman's descent into prostitution. The movie is comprised of a series of 12 "tableaux"-- scenes which are basically unconnected episodes, each presented with a worded introduction.Written by
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Anna Karina plays a character called Nana Kleinfrankenheim, who slips into prostitution. Zola's novel "Nana" of 1880 tells very much the same story. Her surname Kleinfrankenheim means, in literal German, "home for small francs" or more idiomatically "place for loose change" which is a probable reference to her profession. See more »
Suddenly I don't know what to say. It happens to me a lot. I think first about whether they're the right words. But when the moment comes to speak, I can't say it. Why must one always talks? I think one should often just keep quiet, live in silence. The more one talks, the less the words mean.
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Jean-Luc Godard's tale of a young woman named Nana (Anna Karina) who slowly finds her desperate situation in life turning her towards prostitution to make some money. Once you see Godard's name then you know we're not going to get a straight story of a woman entertaining prostitution. Instead, the film is told in twelve chapters that really play out more like vignettes than anything else but I think this actually helps the film in a few ways. I've been quite critical with the director and several of his films but I think that style of his really doesn't go over-the-top here and for the most part it works. This is especially true in the first couple chapters where we see the woman's desperate situation and how she keeps waiting for a break to happen but of course it never comes. Godard's style of storytelling also works beautifully during a sequence where the woman is given all the information and rules about being a prostitute. This sequence here is perhaps one of my favorites from any Godard film I've seen up to this point. With that said, I found the final two chapters to be rather boring and to me they simply didn't fit in with the rest of the movie. I don't mind how the picture ended but chapter eleven takes place in a restaurant and has the woman talking to an older man. I'm sure some will get something out of this conversation but it just left me flat. I think the best thing working here is the performance of Karina who is simply divine in the lead role. It's hard to work your way through the director's style but Karina makes for a very believable role and actually makes you care about this woman and the trouble she's in. VIVRE SA VIE isn't something that I found to be a masterpiece but it is one of the better films I've seen from Godard.
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