Freedom and art, Man-woman relationships -- France -- Drama, Prostitution -- France -- Paris -- Drama

Vivre sa vie

(My Life to Live), (Her Life to Live)


Anna Karina, Sady Rebbot, Brice Parain, André S. Labarthe,

Vivre sa vie tells of Nana (Anna Karina), a naive shopgirl, at the brief, flickering moment when she takes responsibility for her life. Because she is unwilling to sell herself (“Lend yourself to others and give yourself to yourself” is the film’s epigraph, from Montaigne), Nana takes to the streets, becoming a prostitute and a student of human emotions. Brechtian in its use of twelve dispassionately announced tableaux—the ninth including “perhaps the saddest ‘happy’ dance scene in cinema” (Ifan Davies)—Vivre sa vie is also intensely personal, like the act of prostitution itself. Nana’s crucible is Godard’s existential epiphany, as Nana struggles to see, and say, things as they are, bravely concluding, “All is good.” In the famous scene in a movie theater, Nana’s rapt attention to Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc is a tribute to another who sacrificed control to take control. We see through the face of Falconetti’s Joan to the soul of Nana.

Judy Bloch
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • Raoul Coutard
  • French
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 85 mins
  • Janus Films

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Vivre sa vie (To live her life) (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, 2005

Godard forever (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 2001

Jean-Luc Godard : Master of modern cinema -- a definitive tribute (program note), National Film Theatre (London, England), 2001

My life to live (program note), Harvard Film Archive, 2000

My life to live (distributor materials), New Yorker Films, 1995

Godard (program note), New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.), James Monaco, 1974

Vivre sa vie (article), Women and Film, 1972

The films of Jean-Luc Godard (program note), Berkeley Art Museum, Susan Sontag, 1968

Jean Luc Godard (article), New Left Review, Robin Wood, 1966

My life to live (program note), University Film Society, San Francisco State College, Ray McKnight, 1965

Displaying 10 of 31 publicly available documents.

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