My Life to Live (It's My Life) (Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux) (1962) - Rotten Tomatoes

My Life to Live (It's My Life) (Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux) (1962)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Vivre Sa Vie presents 12 episodes in the life of a young woman who turns to prostitution to pay her rent. Each episode features a theatrical scene preceded by a title that lists the characters in the episode, its location, and a brief summary of the action. As he would throughout his career, director Jean-Luc Godard uses prostitution as a metaphor for both economic life in general and the position of the filmmaker under capitalism. Vivre Sa Vie stars Anna Karina, who was married to Godard at the time. Her performance was largely improvised as Godard refused to give Karina her lines until just before each scene was shot. In order to maintain the freshness of the performances, Godard rarely made more than one take of each shot. The film is shot in stunning black-and-white by Raoul Coutard. The improvised acting and fragmented story give the viewer the impression of watching a documentary about a woman's life that is also a series of essays about aesthetics and economics. In addition, the film's camera style presents a catalogue of alternatives to conventional shooting strategies. ~ Louis Schwartz, Rovi


Anna Karina
as Nana Kleinfrankenheim
Gérard Hoffman
as Man Who Buys Nana
Brice Parain
as Himself The Philosopher
Monique Messine
as Elizabeth
Peter Kassovitz
as A Young Man
Paul Pavel
as A Journalist
Laszlo Szabo
as Wounded Man
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for My Life to Live (It's My Life) (Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux)

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (8)

Godard frames and edits his shots, moves the camera, uses music, and deploys his actors in ways that still seem radical -- even as several generations of directors since have cribbed and stolen from him.

November 13, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Godard mixes titles, unusual use of sound, and long scenes of dialog. He is brilliantly served by his wife, Anna Karina, in this film. Karina gives the girl a ring of truth and depth.

August 11, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Star Anna Karina was in the brutal early rounds of marriage to her director, who was never more doting and egghead-condescending than in this showpiece.

May 27, 2008
Village Voice
Top Critic

This 1962 film isn't the most stimulating of Godard's early work, but it does show him beginning to pull away from traditional cutting patterns and sequence arrangement.

October 24, 2007 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Twelve Brechtian tableaux chronicle the life and death of a whore, starting out as a documentary on prostitution, ending as a Monogram B movie.

January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Godard is a bold experimenter, but it's time he picked himself a stronger theme.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for My Life to Live (It's My Life) (Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux)'s a little out there...but then again what do you expect from a Godard movie?

Kudos to the machine gun jump cuts and the rockin song they play on the juke box...anyone know what it is?

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer


Out of all the films by Jean-Luc Godard I've seen so far, "VIVRE SA VIE" is one of the best, and undoubtedly the most accessible. Anna Karina just radiates on screen (as per usual) and Godard gives his characters room to breathe and tones down his signature stylistic flair to refreshing effect. Some of the most interesting and witty dialogue I've heard from Godard is present here, and feels pulled from a movie made tomorrow (so ahead of it's time). I didn't care for the film's abrupt ending at all, but it was pivotal for the point Godard was trying to make about the subject of prostitution.

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

the list of actresses that are so polarizing on screen that you cant take your eyes off of them is short, but anna karina belongs on the short list with stars like monroe, jolie, and johannson. she is mesmerizing to watch, and in this film the camera never really leaves her. the final scene is completely nonsensical, but the rest of the film leading up to it was interesting enough and the camera angles godard chooses for many of his shots adds an entire element on interest to the film. the plot and dialogue are reductively simple, but overall the film is very watchable, especially for godard or karina fans.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

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