Jean-Luc Godard

Vivre sa vie

Vivre sa vie

Vivre sa vie was a turning point for Jean-Luc Godard and remains one of his most dynamic films, combining brilliant visual design with a tragic character study. The lovely Anna Karina, Godard’s greatest muse, plays Nana, a young Parisian who aspires to be an actress but instead ends up a prostitute, her downward spiral depicted in a series of discrete tableaux of daydreams and dances. Featuring some of Karina and Godard’s most iconic moments—from her movie theater vigil with The Passion of Joan of Arc to her seductive pool-hall strut—Vivre sa vie is a landmark of the French New Wave that still surprises at every turn.

Film Info

  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • France
  • 1962
  • 83 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • French
  • Spine #512

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Adrian Martin
  • Video interview with film scholar Jean Narboni, conducted by historian Noël Simsolo
  • Television interview from 1962 with actress Anna Karina
  • Excerpts from a 1961 French television exposé on prostitution
  • Illustrated essay on La prostitution, the book that served as inspiration for the film
  • Stills gallery
  • Director Jean-Luc Godard’s original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring Godard’s original scenario, a new essay by critic Michael Atkinson, interviews with Godard, and a reprint by critic Jean Collet on the film’s soundtrack

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Adrian Martin
  • Video interview with film scholar Jean Narboni, conducted by historian Noël Simsolo
  • Television interview from 1962 with actress Anna Karina
  • Excerpts from a 1961 French television exposé on prostitution
  • Illustrated essay on La prostitution, the book that served as inspiration for the film
  • Stills gallery
  • Director Jean-Luc Godard’s original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring Godard’s original scenario, a new essay by critic Michael Atkinson, interviews with Godard, and a reprint by critic Jean Collet on the film’s soundtrack

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Vivre sa vie
Cast
Anna Karina
Nana
Sady Rebbot
Raoul
André Labarthe
Paul
G. Schlumberger
Yvette
Gérard Hoffmann
The cook
Monique Messine
Elisabeth
Paul Pavel
Journalist
Dimitri Dineff
The "guy"
Peter Kassowitz
The young man
E. Schulmberger
Luigi
Brice Parain
Philosopher
Henri Atal
Arthur
Credits
Director
Jean-Luc Godard
Producer
Pierre Braunberger
Cinematography
Raoul Coutard
Editing
Agnès Guillemot
Sound
Guy Villette
Assistant director
Bernard T. Michel
Sound mixer
Jacques Maumont
Sound editor
Lila Lakshmanan
Camera operator
Charles Bitsch
Music
Michel Legrand
Thought out, written, shot, edited, in sum, directed by
Jean-Luc Godard

From The Current

An Audacious Experiment:  The Soundtrack of Vivre sa vie
An Audacious Experiment: The Soundtrack of Vivre sa vie

This piece originally appeared in La revue du son in December 1962, and was translated by Royal S. Brown for his 1972 book Focus on Godard. When Jean Collet submitted the article for the collection, he wrote that his remarks were of only historica…

By Jean Collet

/
Vivre sa vie: The Lost Girl
Vivre sa vie: The Lost Girl

It’s easy to get anxious about the place of Jean-Luc Godard in our cultural slipstream. He’s held a top-shelf slot of honor that has seemed unassailable for nearly sixty years, but sometimes I fear that his currency is becoming drastically dev…

By Michael Atkinson

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Vivre sa vie
Vivre sa vie

Vivre sa vie, made in 1962, was the fourth of Jean-Luc Godard’s films. He had so far turned out a gangster-movie knockoff (Breathless), a dark political picture (Le Petit soldat), and a sort-of-musical comedy (Une femme est une femme). Now he was g…

By Luc Sante

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Godard in Fragments
Godard in Fragments

In the 1960s, pioneering French New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard introduced the world to a new cinematic lexicon, generated from his innovative, auteurist style. Between 1960 and 1967 alone, he made fifteen features (beginning with his groundbreaki…

By Kogonada

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Explore

Anna Karina

Actor

Few faces have fluttered the hearts of male cinephiles the way Anna Karina’s has. Karina has written and directed films, taken on prominent stage roles (including in plays directed by Jacques Rivette and Ingmar Bergman), had a successful singing career, and written four novels, but, of course, she is cited most often as Jean-Luc Godard’s New Wave muse and first wife. Godard decided he wanted to put her on-screen after seeing her in a sudsy Palmolive ad on television in the late 1950s. Though she turned down a small (nude) role in Breathless, she was soon cast in Godard’s next film, Le petit soldat (1961), at age twenty, and would go on to appear in six more of his films during the sixties, including the iconic Vivre sa vie and Band of Outsiders (she and Godard would also cameo together in Agnès Varda’s Cléo from 5 to 7). Though their cinematic collaboration seemed harmonious, behind the scenes, their relationship was tumultuous and bitter, made all the more difficult by the fact that it was under constant public scrutiny. Their three-year marriage ended in 1964, though they continued to work together until 1966. Karina stayed with film acting in the coming decades, working with such directors as Rivette, Luchino Visconti, George Cukor, Tony Richardson, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.