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

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

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December 9, 2016
In his third feature, Jean-Luc Godard continued to playfully innovate with film form, even as he focuses on the economic plight of women that leads them to turn to prostitution. Godard's wife, Anna Karina, is (again) delightful and charismatic despite the circumstances of her character. She starts as a record shop assistant hoping to break into film but loses her apartment, tries (nude) modelling, and then runs into a friend who became a prostitute to support herself and her kids after a divorce and follows suit. Godard breaks the film into 12 parts (it is subtitled "film en douze tableaux") with brief intertitles announcing the content of the next section. As usual with Godard, the text is the thing and the characters chat away endlessly in interesting intellectual digressions; for example, later in the film, Nana (Karina) has a sit down with a French philosopher who argues that language is the basis for thinking. Karina references Sartre (particularly his concept of "bad faith") more than once (and the title itself points to existentialism methinks). Most stunningly, she goes to see Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928) and tears up at the dramatic performance of Falconetti (and her giant shorn head in close-up). Godard also uses many close-ups of Karina (when he isn't showing us the back of her head, as he does frequently) and, as shot by Raoul Coutard (1924-2016) in black and white, the film (and Paris) looks overcast and beautiful. The end result is pretty exhilarating with Godard in the middle of his most entertaining period (before he became truly difficult and cryptic). Nevertheless, the film too will take some unpacking.
½ December 2, 2016
Episodic and moody drama which sometimes comes across as an information film on the life of ladies of the night. It's much more than that though and is an impressive art-house piece.
November 23, 2016
It took me the entire run time to buy into the format, but by the end, I was sold. The notable back light suggests that the protagonist is facing an unknowable darkness.
½ November 6, 2016
This is what they call "every frame a painting". Godard's filming and editing are superb and unconventional. He is giving away his influences in a beautiful way, too. A film that discusses social and emotional issues alike.
April 15, 2016
An early Godard with the magnetic Anna Karina, Godard's writing and direction are, as usual, superb- I think I need to rewatch this soon, especially the 11th section, basically a philosophical discourse on the adequacy (or otherwise) of language. Godarad fans won't be disappointed.
April 6, 2016
But the more we talk, the less the words mean.
January 27, 2016
"Godard is perhaps the only director today who is interested in "philosophical films" and possesses an intelligence and discretion equal to the task. Other directors have had their "views" on contemporary society and the nature of our humanity; and sometimes their films survive the ideas they propose. Godard is the first director fully to grasp the fact that, in order to deal seriously with ideas, one must create a new film language for expressing them-if the ideas are to have an suppleness and complexity." Sontag, 1964
December 10, 2015
Enjoyed most of it, especially for the wonderful panning and blocking in the film. It was great just to look at. The story is a bit unoriginal and the last two segments of the movie almost completely ruined it for me. The diner scene with the old man philosophizing with a prostitute went on entirely too long and reached eye rolling pretentiousness. Then there is the conclusion that was built up to be tragic and ends up being unintentionally hilarious and awkward.

Overall, worth checking out for movie nerds (those who love the craft), but pretty much nobody else.
September 6, 2015
This is my first Godard film. Beautifully shot. Karina is ADORABLE. Lots of interesting shots, like backs of heads and slightly awkward centering of people. Melodramatic but real. I enjoyed it very much.
August 29, 2015
My first time watching this classic from Jean-Luc Godard, that might be one of his best. It follows the life of a young prostitute played by the luminous Anna Karina. There are some classic scenes, such as her watching "The Passion of Joan of Arc" as well as he dancing in a pool hall. The film is short, but powerful. Recommended for lovers of classic or International cinema!
August 4, 2015
Charting the mechanics of prostitution, and a handful of experiments in sound, shooting and editing along the way, Jean-Luc Godard's lesser-known Vivre Sa Vie is an episodic journey through New Wave cool.
Godard's shots linger on simple beauty and his characters spout complex philosophy, but it's the great auteur's unpredictability of form that'll really keep cinephiles glued to their screens. The film blends documentary, tragedy, neo-realism and silent cinema aesthetics, and Anna Karina gives us a fine performance from start to finish. But hey, what film fan wouldn't love a movie character who goes to kitsch cinemas to check out, and cry over, Carl Theodor Dreyer?
½ July 28, 2015
Jean-Luc Godard's "Vivre Sa Vie"/ My life to Live - remains a vital and interestingly "current" film. We follow Anna Karina's character over what is presented in "episodes." It is largely improvised and uses prostitution as metaphor for the way we all must give up more than a little of ourselves to obtain the life we want. While it is impossible to view this film as a sort of diatribe regarding economics and ethics, what gives this film it's "life" is Karina's performance and sad little story. Filmed brilliantly by Raoul Coutard, the movie has the feel of a documentary. It tells the story of an ambitious but lonely young woman trying to survive in a world that makes it challenging for her to get ahead. In many ways, the film works as a societal commentary and melodrama. No way around the fact that this movie is just awesome.
½ July 26, 2015
"Vivre Sa Vie," translated roughly as "My Life to Live" follows a woman who slowly descends from being in a relationship to becoming a prostitute in order to get by. Such subject matter was, for the most part, not touched by Hollywood at the time of its release since it was very edgy and uncomfortable, and God forbid that Hollywood's audiences get uncomfortable when watching a film. But this wasn't Hollywood; this is part of the French New Wave.

The film is told in 12 episodic tales which have titles and their own sections of the tale, such as certain Tarantino films including Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Inglourious Basterds. For me, 12 seemed a little much, and it felt like it could have been done with a few of the episodes left out. I am not complaining about the length, it is still relatively a short movie, but I think I remember one or two episodes that were too short to be considered their own episodes in my opinion.

I think it is great for Godard to work with such subject matter; the only "explicit" film I remember seeing from around this era was "Persona" by Bergman, and I was shocked at the language they used - I thought people were only that vulgar in movies towards the end of the 60s and onwards. However, there are shots that seem uninteresting, including the final shot of the film, and the final scene in general makes the film end on a very abrupt note.

This is a good character study which has darker material than the mise-en-scene/lighting/tone of the film. I would have liked to see this darkness portrayed in the visuals, but this is still a good film.
½ May 2, 2015
A frank, unsentimental portrayal of a woman living her life inhibited by societal mores, "Vivre sa vie" is a relatively flawless film with self-aware camerawork and a perfect performance from Anna Karina.
September 27, 2014
It got less interesting as it progressed. Godard once again makes me overtly aware that I'm watching a film.
½ August 22, 2014
Stylish and influential.
½ August 16, 2014
12 vignettes from one lady's life, largely improvised and shot in single takes. The plot itself is rather shallow and the ending is quite sudden, but that's par for the course for Godard's endings. One must appreciate this film for its aesthetic, its form, and it's acting courtesy of Anna Karina or else there's not much left. in many ways, this film was a series of experiments in unique story-telling via cinema.
July 21, 2014
All Godard's need to launch a great movie is a Girl,Cigarette and a Gun.
½ July 17, 2014
An early piece showing many of the elements that make Godard great, not least his collaboration with Anna Karina, but it doesn't quite rise to the heights of his later 60s films.
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