MY LIFE TO LIVE (Jean-Luc Godard, 1962)

Who else but Jean-Luc Godard could make a rigorously analytical film about the lot in life of a prostitute and bathe the result in poignant lyricism? Objective and subjective, Vivre sa vie simultaneously provides a view that is both outside-in and inside-out. This strikingly beautiful black-and-white film takes as its theme how Nana—what else would be the name of a French prostitute?—navigates and negotiates her existential and sensitive realities, her in-the-momentness and (finally) capacity for self-contemplation, her state of being and flood of feelings. Correlative to the last is the gray backstreet of Paris where her tragic death, ironically, is the final negotiation, the resolution that confers integrity at last on Nana by the extinction, for her, of all things that had been at war with it—from the outside-in, inside-in and inside-out.

The secondary title of Vivre sa vie is this: Film en douze tableaux. We have here, then, a series of vignettes, and this design suggests Nana’s conflicted, fragmented reality. Their particular number, which coincides with the number of calendar months, suggests where the film is headed: the exhaustion/completion of Nana’s life. We have here a metaphor for the human condition—a metaphor filled to overflow with the reality of one soul’s life and the filmmaker’s embrace of that. Godard has cast Anna Karina, his wife, in the role of Nana.

Actually, there are thirteen vignettes—an unlucky number—if we count the opening credit sequence. This consists of shots of—well, who? At this jucture, who can say with any certainty whether we are looking at Nana or Anna, the actress who is playing her? In any case, there are three head-shots in closeup; either silhouetted profile shot of whoever-she-is sandwiches a frontal shot of her face. This, too, is fragmenting, preserving the ambiguity of the person’s identity (between Anna and Nana), but also suggesting a lack of integrity in the character—and in Karina, for that matter, who is as much representative of the human condition (in her husband’s eyes) as is the character she is playing. Of course, these head-shots also have the effect of fragmenting space, in this instance, the blacked-out backdrop against which Anna/Nana’s face seems pale and luminous. We are drawn to Karina’s lovely face, while at the same time the fragmenting distances us. Michel Legrand’s music strikes a chord or two before retreating abruptly into silence before abruptly becoming audible again—more fragmentation, distancing. The periodic silence, coupled with the closeups of Anna/Nana’s face cannot help but remind us of silent cinema, especially (once we have seen the film) since the film’s climax will be achieved by a magnificent passage in which Nana watches Falconetti’s face in closeup at a showing of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (La passion de Jeanne d’Arc, 1928). (There may even be a suggestion here by Godard that the introduction of sound has itself fragmented cinema.) But the sheer silence that the music periodically interrupts is also mysterious, suggesting the great silence from which each of us, and all of us, emerge and into which we ultimately pass. A closing dictum from Montaigne applies to us all but catches the poignancy of Nana’s predicament in particular: “Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.”

Now the film proper begins. Nana has not yet become a prostitute. At a café counter, she and Paul are breaking up. She is apparently leaving Paul, who might be her husband, having cheated on him with another man. Nana tells Paul: “You never do as I ask. You always expect me to do what you want.” She adds, “I want to die,” and the restraint with which she utters this line gives it distressing depth. (In effect, Nana is refuting Paul’s claim that she is parroting lines from a stage play.) “I exist, too,” the aspiring actress tells Paul—a disclosure of Godard’s feminism, but one must add that it is quite possible, from what we hear, that Paul doesn’t believe in the reality of other people whatever their gender. (“I think all people are the same,” he says at one point.) When he tells her that she always talks about herself, we grasp that their relationship hasn’t provided a supportive haven in which Nana might be herself. Paul sounds cold, not (as he claims) sad; accusative, he doesn’t really seem to be listening to Nana, and we surmise that this has also been the case throughout the relationship we now see ending. Paul is brusque, dismissive, contumelious, and Nana is “fed up.” As their conversation continues, however, Paul seems more and more genuinely sad and defeated. We also grasp that the relationship had in fact suited Nana in some ways. Financially, for one—we glean this from Paul’s ungallant query as to whether Nana’s new boyfriend is wealthier than he is. In the main, though, her pairing with Paul enabled Nana the comfort of postponing the hard work of creating her own identity. It cocooned her in her partner’s self-centeredness. At the last, though, Paul strikes a wistful, humane note as he shares with Nana how an eight-year-old girl, a pupil of his father’s, described her favorite animal, a bird: “A bird has an exterior and an interior. Remove the exterior and you have the interior. Remove the interior and you see the soul.” Obliquely echoing Montaigne’s previously quoted dictum, this child’s remark would appear to refer equally to Paul and Nana. It speaks to the mystery and vulnerability of us all.

Formally, this initial scene or vignette is remarkable. Her back faces the camera as Nana sits at the counter. For a while, Paul’s back isn’t in the frame, although we see Nana turn screen-right during their conversation; mostly, though, she is facing forward. In the background of the shot is a reflective surface that mirrors her image, her face; but Nana is oblivious to this. She is in-the-moment, doing her best to surmount his resistance in order to explain why she is leaving him and their child, if indeed it is their child who is described as having an earache. When Paul’s back finally enters the frame, he seems much more vulnerable than he had sounded when he was offscreen; Godard has brought Paul’s humanity in, and now we feel sad over the breakup even as we understand its necessity for Nana. Our response has become so much more complex than we imagined it would be. Nana hadn’t seen her reflected image—an index of her as yet unformed identity; but there is no such image at all for Paul when the camera includes him. His back is all there is, except for fleeting glimpses of his profile as he turns to Nana as they converse. We begin to wonder whether Paul’s enormous show of ego papers over a terrible sense of incompletion and failure on his part. He scoffs at Nana’s dream of becoming an actress, that is, when he isn’t encouraging her to keep trying; but at the same time he admits that his own dream to establish himself as a musician has also not panned out. Our sight of both their backs creates a sadness for their end as a couple. Their relationship is about to be behind them; no matter what lies ahead for either, this is a painful moment. The two leave the counter for one last pin-ball game, an apparent gesture to their past as a couple. We had begun this vignette by siding with Nana and against Paul, and now at the conclusion of it we are in stranger, deeper emotional territory. We are simply devastated. To say the least, Godard has employed distancing techniques toward an unexpected outcome.

The second vignette begins with the Arc de Triomphe—an objective documentary shot. It moves indoors to Nana’s workplace, a record shop. Nana is at the counter attending to a customer. The rigid framing gives us no idea of the size of the establishment; but when she moves to screen-right to consult with another salesperson, and then screen-right past the original counter in order to retrieve for the customer the recording he requested, we realize that the shop is immense. This revelation has the effect of wobbling our image of Nana’s workplace stability. Something else is equally decisive in this regard. As Nana goes about her work, she weaves in and out of brief conversation with co-workers. We learn two things: she has lent an absent co-worker 2000 francs, and nobody else there can lend her the money. She shrugs the matter off as unimportant, but we glean that the opposite is the case from her repetition of this request. Indeed, it seems that the labor of all the sales personnel is unfairly compensated, for we see the interconnectedness of financial vulnerability that characterizes Nana and her co-workers. This isn’t a documentary account of their financial vulnerability, for its presentation proceeds from Nana’s circumstance in particular and the poise that masks her desperation. Nana’s independence, it turns out, is a crumbling “Arc de Triomphe,” rendering the opening shot of this vignette, in retrospect, witheringly ironic.

The third vignette bears out Nana’s financial desperation. She has been evicted, locked out of her apartment—a fact we discover from an angled overhead shot of her failed attempt to steal the apartment key from the concierge’s office. (The camera placement underscores her humiliation and demoralization.) Her inability to retrieve her belongings deepens her predicament to one of dispossession. Underscoring this is her encounter in the street with Paul, who presents her with copies of recent photographs of their children. Nana remarks that they look like him, not her—another felt instance of dispossession. She might ask Paul for money, but she cannot for two reasons: she did so at the café in the first vignette and, recoiling from her rejection of him, he refused, and she is therefore fearful he will turn down her request again; to do so would admit defeat. Nana even rejects Paul’s offer of dinner. Instead, she goes to the movies with a date, whom she later identifies as her brother to another date that same night. The movie is Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc, in which a powerless Joan, as the history panned out, was imprisoned, tried and burned at the stake by men in a male-dominated and -determined universe. The film is, of course, silent, and Godard, a true lover of silent cinema doesn’t permit any musical accompaniment to compromise the silence that is one of the key expressive elements of silent cinema. Indeed, the entire passage in the darkened theater is silent; not a stirring or a cough emanates from the sparse rapt audience. There we see, on a screen-within-the-screen that fills the entire screen, the face, in closeup, of Falconetti’s Joan. The young priest (played by Antonin Artaud!) is telling Joan, “We are to prepare you for death,” to which Joan replies, “So soon?” Godard crosscuts between the tear-stained faces of Falconetti’s Joan and Karina’s Nana. This is the point of identification between them. Nana absorbs the sadness of her own predicament through the overwhelming sadness of Joan’s—a rebuke to the sentimental nonsense that someone else’s monumental suffering reminds us how small our own worries are. (Emily Dickinson, in one of her poems, states the truth about the enormous suffering of Jesus: anyone else’s suffering is equal to it.)

The identity between Falconetti’s Joan and Karina’s Nana, then, is based on the frame that they share (the screen-within-the-screen; the latter screen) and what fills that frame: Joan’s and Nana’s suffering—Joan’s and Nana’s soul. For Nana, it is an occasion to relax her in-the-momentness and experience a contemplation of herself through the agency of this gigantic sister-image; at the same time, through the magic of Godard’s cutting back and forth between Dreyer’s image and his own, across time and space Joan appears to be contemplating Nana as much as Nana appears to be contemplating Joan. This lends to their separated existences a strong, tender bond of sisterhood, reflects on their mutual cinematic reality and extra-cinematic representation of female reality, and suggests the tragic destiny that both women/characters share. But it is more than a moment of discovery for Nana; we are watching, or we feel we are watching, Nana’s employment of Dreyer’s image of Joan in her own, that is, Nana’s moment of quest whereby Nana creates an instance of self-awareness and self-understanding. Here is a shattering instance of Godard’s moving Nana from objectivity to subjectivity to greater objectivity, from blind sociological existence to (in however limited a form) political consciousness. Or perhaps we should say that Godard is accomplishing this for himself, and through him for the rest of us, through the agency of Joan/Nana.

Nana ditches her “brother”/movie date to keep at appointment at her and Paul’s café with the man whom Paul has taken to be his replacement: the photographer whose photographs of her Nana dreams may help facilitate her entry in the movies—the dream of hers that Paul has cavalierly dismissed; the dream for which we do not hold out much hope either. As with Nana and Paul in the first vignette, the camera faces Nana’s and the photographer’s backs as the two sit at the counter. The man shows her a spreadsheet, of the kind that he would like to make for her if only she will let him photograph her. Her reluctance to commit suggests, perhaps, Nana’s own doubts that a place really awaits her in the French film industry. In a sense, she cannot find herself in these future photographs any more than she was able to see herself in the photographs of their own children that Paul earlier showed her. In contrast, she did “find herself” in the images of Dreyer’s Joan that had been projected onto the screen-within-the-screen. At one level, Godard is playfully reminding us that N/An[n]a already is in the movies–this movie; his movie. More seriously, he is distinguishing between images that corroborate our worst sense of reality—Nana has never felt close to her children, who through no fault of their own have pressured her into a socially determined role that left her little space for herself—and images, like Dreyer’s, that transcend reality and attain a level of objective truthfulness, however subjectively, imaginatively, this needs to be ferreted out. Also, images can be commoditized. The photographer wants something for his donation of time and expertise to helping Nana pursue her dream of getting into movies. He wants, of course, sex, and does Nana’s ditched date, who complains as she leaves, “I bought your movie ticket!” And, alas, this also reminds us that even Dreyer’s images, among the purest and noblest in cinema, are reduced to merchandise in the marketplace. In this ironical context, rueful Godard will find himself identifying with Raoul, the man who becomes Nana’s pimp.

The third vignette ends potently, brilliantly. Left without lodging, Nana accepts with resignation the photographer’s offer to spend the night with him. This is dramatic irony insofar as we know about Nana’s sudden homelessness while the gentleman who has cast himself in the role of her current benefactor, in terms of helping her meet a career goal, does not. As the temporary couple exit the café they pass by a room full of empty chairs and tables. It is a scene of some order (chairs accompany each small, round table) and considerable disarray, and therefore it may strike us as an apt metaphor for Nana’s own life at the moment—or even anyone’s life at any moment. But that is not the most compelling aspect. In concert with the fact that the last two customers, Nana and the photographer, have just left, the image isn’t merely one of empty chairs and tables but, rather, one of vacated chairs and tables. The food—note that Nana hasn’t eaten, having turned down Paul’s offer of dinner to go to the movies and, the café having run out of rolls, having had there only a cup of coffee—and the customers are conspicuous by their absence; they are, if you will, present in their absence. It is closing time, projectively on a cosmic scale, and the image seems populated by ghosts. In retrospect, it is the same with the screen-within-the-screen where Joan and one of the priests had appeared. For us the audience, who may ourselves be experiencing at this point a mortal shudder, the image will cast a pall on what little remains of Nana’s young life—a life that will end on a rain-soaked, desolate street. By gunfire, Nana will be burned at the stake.

The ghostliness and poetry of this closing collides with the matter-of-factness of the very brief fourth vignette. Nana is seated facing us, her face, often in Falconetti-closeup, in a deep shadow of shame and guilt; she is being interviewed by the police at headquarters. At first an American viewer might think that she has been brought in for solicitation; Godard thus makes at least us Americans feel as though we are eager for Nana to reach her end, for she hasn’t even as yet taken up prostitution. (Prostitution had been legal in France for many centuries, although the French are devilishly clever at arresting and prosecuting prostitutes on related charges.) However, the reason Nana is there points up the reason why she will take up prostitution. Money.

Homeless, Nana by this point has also lost her job at the record store. She is explaining to a police clerk what led to her arrest. When a woman dropped a 1000-franc note at a newsstand, Nana hoped to claim the note as a godsend. But the woman who dropped the note, noticing that it was missing, confronted Nana and stared at her, whereupon Nana guiltily returned the money. With appalling unkindness, the woman turned Nana in to the police. U.S. audiences will scratch their heads trying to figure out what “crime” the French find in all this, but in their defense even the officer interviewing Nana is at a loss to comprehend why the faceless, anonymous accuser has done this to her. In any case, Nana’s evident degradation over the low point that her life has reached slicks the way for her slide into prostitution. Nana has lost her self-confidence, her sense of self-worth. The fourth vignette ends with Nana’s turning her head screen-right and staring dejectedly into space, as though she can no longer face the person interviewing her or her own future.

This static fourth vignette is immediately followed by a vignette that is also brief but is full of human movement and camera movement. There is the tracking shot of one side of a street of sorrow—well, actually, Les Champs Elysées—before a whip of the camera shows the other side of the same street. Walking down the street towards a receding camera, Nana is, in fact, going nowhere. She looks thin, exhausted. When she turns her face screen-left, the camera scans the faces of prostitutes at their accustomed stations. A male pedestrian, mistaking her for a prostitute, offers himself as a john. Their level of experience at this contrasts; Nana has no experience, while the man already knows into which sidewalk hotel they ought to retreat to conduct their business. This fifth vignette is astonishing, not least of all because it shows Nana’s reluctant, resigned, very nearly passive introduction to prostitution through the back door, so to speak. Nana is following her john’s lead, without resistance, much less protest, into the hotel; but once inside, it is she who relaxes into a more active role by selecting the room and securing the key. It is one of two choices (in other words, the place is busy), and of course there really is no choice: one room is the same as the other because the same business will be conducted in either one. We are reminded as well by Nana’s overwhelming feeling that homelessness and joblessness have left her with no other option in order to make some money. Upstairs, in their room, Nana is so unpracticed that she leaves it up to her john to fix the fee. This he will not do because it violates the rules of the game; but when Nana, thus coerced into a professional stance, asks for 4000 francs and is paid, she is unable to return her john’s change of 1000 francs—the same amount, we recall, of the dropped note that led to her arrest. She draws the flimsy curtains. Her john bursts upon her face with kisses, but Nana struggles to keep her lips to herself, her head darting every which way in the frame, as her john holds onto her, in order to keep their lips from touching. For Nana, this is a desperate attempt to hold onto some shred of herself; for Godard, it is the most heartfelt homage to the spiritual father of the nouvelle vague: Jean Renoir. The scene reminds us of Henriette’s initial resistance to Henri in Renoir’s beauteous, poignant Une partie de campagne (1936). Godard doesn’t show us the finish because we already know that, from the Renoir. Unlike Henriette, though, Nana won’t be falling in love. Here it’s business—the business of survival.

We already know that Nana, like most Parisians, loves the movies. Isn’t she also likely familiar with Renoir’s film from Maupassant? Isn’t she, trapped, resorting to the freedom that art permits by play-acting at being Henriette in the film? Hasn’t Nana in effect become an “actress” at last? Only, the limitations that the sordid business transaction imposes on her performance corrupts her imaginative leap, reducing it to the imaginary and the self-delusional. Nana’s coping mechanism—in a seedy hotel room, her reenactment of Henriette’s moment under the trees—foretells her ruination.

I refer to this business transaction with her first john as Nana’s “introduction” to prostitution rather than as her initiation into it because at this point Nana conceives of the event as singular. She is not yet a working prostitute; but, having prostituted herself with her first john, she has taken a significant step in that direction that will make easier subsequent steps. In the sixth vignette Nana runs into a friend of hers, Yvette, who is a working prostitute. In the café both women agree that life is hard, that “life is life.” After she was abandoned by the father of their children, Yvette explains to Nana, “[g]radually I became a prostitute.” Rather than a career decision, it’s a sinking or a slide, pressured by financial circumstance and an unavailability of alternatives. Also present in the café, Raoul, Yvette’s pimp, is interested in adding Nana to his stable; but shots fired in the street send both him and Nana fleeing. Raoul will later describe the shooting incident as “political,” not a street crime, but in either case it may strike us, by its interruption of Raoul and Nana’s conversation, as a projection of Nana’s unease over the prospect of her becoming a prostitute. It also prefigures Nana’s own end.

The seventh vignette finds Nana having more or less decided to try prostitution as a means of survival. She is writing a letter to a woman for whom Yvette previously worked in a brothel. She is sitting at a table, facing us; behind her is a vast window that reveals busy Paris streets in daylight many stories below. Her elevation, then, ironically suggests the degree to which Nana may have fallen and feels crushed. Yet she pursues her intentions with practicality and charm. Introducing herself to the anonymous “Madame” in the letter she is composing, Nana provides a description of herself. Modestly she says, “I think I am pretty,” when all the time she looks like Anna Karina. Unsure of her exact height, Nana stands up and measures herself by hand from toe to top—an image of self-objectification. Suddenly Raoul enters the frame and sits opposite her; he offers himself as a better alternative to the stranger to whom Nana is writing. Nana’s face is lost behind Raoul’s, but Godard’s camera moving back and forth keeps finding it again, that is to say, holds it back from being altogether lost. Nana is about to embark on a course that will make her sense of identity hard, if not impossible, to retain. The second vignette had opened with a documentary shot of the Arc de Triomphe by daylight; the current vignette ends with a shot of it in darkness. “When do I begin?” Nana asks Raoul, who answers, “When the city’s lights come up, the prostitute’s endless beat begins.” I may be misremembering, but I don’t believe that Raoul has ever addressed Nana by name; and now she is, simply, another manifestation of “the prostitute.”

The new recruit is full of questions. These questions, along with Raoul’s responses, are what we hear throughout much of the eighth vignette. We do not see Nana and Raoul; rather, relevant generalized images appear. First off, Raoul recites legal facts relating to prostitution in France, as well as the nut-and-bolts of the business. He is educating Nana. Some of the questions and answers fascinate, but the grimmest exchange between Nana and Raoul is perhaps this: “Must I accept anyone?” “The prostitute must always be at the client’s disposal.” In more ways than one, Nana’s name—her individuality; her identity—is being erased, and her disappearance (along with Raoul’s) from the screen is consistent with this. For us, it is a dim memory and a trenchant irony that Nana’s departure from her life with Paul, which set her on her downward financial spiral, was motivated by her desire to find or define herself and be herself. Male prerogatives, entrenched in society, require prostitution; it is a significant index of this entrenchment that there are not more jobs available for women outside this realm.

Very briefly, this vignette flows into the next, as if to suggest that Nana’s questions are inexhaustible and dear Raoul has an answer for everything. (It doesn’t matter how much Raoul really knows because vis-à-vis his girls he is powerful.) We sort-of get the impression that Nana is no better at her trade than Cabiria in Federico Fellini’s The Nights of Cabiria (1956). Upstairs, in a hotel’s billiard room, Nana cannot interest any of three potential clients, two of whom are in conversation with each other, while the other gallantly buys her a pack of cigarettes, perhaps missing the point that she is asking for a smoke because she wants someone to pay to have sex with her. To be as alluring as possible, Nana dances to a jukebox tune; but a point-of-view shot as she makes her seductive way around the room shows us all the impression she is making: none. One of the talkers interrupts his time with his companion to perform the grotesque mime of a child blowing up a balloon until it pops, eliciting offscreen Nana’s forced laughter. The burst balloon is correlative to her deflated prospects that evening. The fact that the balloon doesn’t really exist adds its own commentary on the insubstantial nature of Nana’s necessary enterprise for the sake of survival.

Nana’s forced smile visually connects vignettes 9 and 10. The latter opens on Nana, who is standing at her station against one of Godard’s many-postered walls and smoking a cigarette. All business now and seeming efficiency, she takes a john to a hotel room; now she charges 5000 francs so that she doesn’t have anything to return. But Nana is either not to the john’s especial liking or insufficient to make him happy. A second girl is recruited. “What’s your name?” the client asks. “Elizabeth,” she answers, “like the Queen of England”—the film’s funniest line, but also, implicitly, an ironical disclosure of how small and insignificant Nana and the other prostitute feel.

The penultimate vignette consists of a chance encounter between Nana and philosopher Brice Parain. Their conversation ranges over the relation between language and thought, language and truth, and love and truth. As with Raoul when he was introducing prostitution to her, Nana is mainly the one doing the interviewing. It is hard to say where Parain’s condescension ends and Nana’s defensiveness begins, but one feels that this is a momentous exchange for Nana, who may be thinking, at least a little, for the first time in her life as a result of it. It is also hard to say, however, that this is necessarily a good and happy thing. Indeed, Parain gives Nana an example from literature where somebody’s thinking for the first time leads to his downfall. This provokes Nana’s defensiveness: “Why are you telling me this!” Disingenuously, Parain replies, “Oh, just to make conversation.” Godard adds mischief of his own by playing with the synchronization of image and sound during the conversation—an anticipation of his post-Karina Le gai savoir (1968).

She was the best of prostitutes, she was the worst of prostitutes. The twelfth vignette brings Nana to her end. Nana has fallen in love—I think with the boy who bought her a pack of cigarettes; but, in truth, all her johns and nearly-johns look alike to me. Once again Godard plays with image and sound, in this instance fusing thought and language, silent and sound cinema, by rendering French subtitles for unspoken words between the young lovers. Offscreen, the boy reads aloud Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Oval Portrait”—only it is Godard’s own voice that we hear reading the last part of the story, which ends with the artist’s portrait capturing the life of his beloved and leaving the beloved, presumably somehow as a result, dead. Nana dreams of running off with this boy, but Raoul has something else in mind. Nana has been a naughty girl. Forgetting that it’s her lot in life to accept any client, she has rejected a john, and what he wanted to do with her, as too degrading. Therefore, Raoul has arranged to sell Nana to someone else. When the money proves less than the agreed-upon amount, Raoul moves in upon Nana’s buyer. When the latter has his thug draw a loaded gun (he forgot to load his own), Raoul uses Nana as a shield; Nana is shot dead. She falls in the street as Raoul drives off. The camera drops—an out-of-sync point-of-view shot correlative to Nana’s death. Perhaps the downward slip of the camera is meant to imply that Nana’s soul, unlike that of Dreyer’s Joan, did not ascend.

It is outrageous that some viewers of this extraordinary film take from it that Nana’s life was hers to live, that Godard is elaborating on personal choice and responsibility. On the contrary, the film’s title is ironic. Everything in the film attests to the facts that Nana has no real choices and nothing in her life is in her hands. She literally is killed, in fact, because Raoul, using her as a shield, has her in his grip. I don’t know how much clearer than that Godard could possibly have been. The limitations imposed on Nana’s capacity for self-determination in the world in which she finds herself are indeed what this excellent movie is about—among other things. Nana does the best that she can. We see from the marquee in the last vignette that a movie theater is showing François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim (1961). Jeanne Moreau, as Catherine, is prominent in the displayed picture. Between the wars, in a man’s world Catherine struggles to be seen and heard, and ultimately sacrifices herself so that her little daughter, Sabine, might have a better time in a more equitable world. Nana is proof that that fairer time has still not arrived.

As Nana, Anna Karina is superb.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s