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

  • 17h ago

    Godard, has a unique storytelling technique, although he considers his way of representing his scenes to be radical, this is one of the best films he made

    Godard, has a unique storytelling technique, although he considers his way of representing his scenes to be radical, this is one of the best films he made

  • 5d ago

    Many films once considered dangerously radical gradually find their potency fade with time, as tastes evolve and the medium finds new ways to innovate. Godard is one director who still seems to have never fallen into this trap; his films still retain a distinctly modern taste more than half a century later. It feels like one of his more accessible films (revolving virtually entirely around a single focal character and her independence, or inability to maintain it), but I can't shake the notion that there is plenty more to dissect. With continuous references to cinema, literature, and philosophy, Vivre sa Vie seems ripe for subtext, though its continuous stream of references almost make the film seem unsure about itself, as if referencing a library by only reviewing the titles on the spines of the books (given Godard's critical background though, I doubt this is the most likely scenario). I do take issue with the ending, in which Karina's Nana is struck by bullets from two different gunman in an exchange gone wrong, possibly indicating her ultimate inability to control her destiny despite superficial authority over her own, small actions. What her stumbling ends up looking like instead is a bizarre parody of a Three Stooges skit. (4/5)

    Many films once considered dangerously radical gradually find their potency fade with time, as tastes evolve and the medium finds new ways to innovate. Godard is one director who still seems to have never fallen into this trap; his films still retain a distinctly modern taste more than half a century later. It feels like one of his more accessible films (revolving virtually entirely around a single focal character and her independence, or inability to maintain it), but I can't shake the notion that there is plenty more to dissect. With continuous references to cinema, literature, and philosophy, Vivre sa Vie seems ripe for subtext, though its continuous stream of references almost make the film seem unsure about itself, as if referencing a library by only reviewing the titles on the spines of the books (given Godard's critical background though, I doubt this is the most likely scenario). I do take issue with the ending, in which Karina's Nana is struck by bullets from two different gunman in an exchange gone wrong, possibly indicating her ultimate inability to control her destiny despite superficial authority over her own, small actions. What her stumbling ends up looking like instead is a bizarre parody of a Three Stooges skit. (4/5)

  • Jul 04, 2020

    Godard's best tragedy.

    Godard's best tragedy.

  • Jan 01, 2020

    Stylish and heartbreaking. Godard tells the story of a woman who never loses her beauty or confidence in the face of her downfall. Sometimes you love her. Sometimes you hate her. She is always fascinating.

    Stylish and heartbreaking. Godard tells the story of a woman who never loses her beauty or confidence in the face of her downfall. Sometimes you love her. Sometimes you hate her. She is always fascinating.

  • Nov 17, 2019

    It is quite fascinating how Godard injected this film with philosophical inquiries. even the quietest scenes were contemplative. this is certainly my favourite of all of Godard's films.

    It is quite fascinating how Godard injected this film with philosophical inquiries. even the quietest scenes were contemplative. this is certainly my favourite of all of Godard's films.

  • Antonius B Super Reviewer
    Aug 04, 2018

    There is a bleakness to this movie, which has a pretty and thoughtful young woman (Anna Karina), living in beautiful Paris, and yet descending into prostitution following a break-up. Director Jean-Luc Godard gives us twelve vignettes that are intentionally simple and unassuming to paint the picture. It's worth seeing, but at least for me, there are better French New Wave pictures, and certainly less depressing ones. Anna Karina is lovely but I don't think she delivered a lot of range in this performance. One major exception early on in her new job is when she desperately tries to avoid a customer's kiss on the mouth. The look in her eyes as she squirms around is heart-rending, and disabuses us of any ooh-la-la fantasies we may have about her in this role. Another nice scene is when she dances to a jukebox song with awkward cuteness, trying to entice the few men watching her. To his credit, Godard is unflinching in his honesty, and there is no sentimentality here. I loved the thoughtful scenes, the one where she's in the theater watching the 1928 Carl Theodor Dreyer film 'The Passion of Joan of Arc', and then later picking an older man's brain about philosophy in a café. The street scenes in Paris were nice to see, though sometimes the film comes close to descending into a home movie project. Godard was making a point about the realities of life, and employing new filmmaking techniques while telling the story. It doesn't always make for great entertainment though, such as the section that's almost a mini-documentary on prostitution in Paris at the time. The ending is also ridiculously abrupt; it is a grand statement but to me borders on pretentiousness. Is it over-compensating for not showing some of the more painful aspects of prostitution along the way? (STD's, being beaten up, being degraded, etc?). Until then, with the exception of the attempted kiss scene, the 'insight' we get is mostly just a beautiful model being bored by her tricks. From Godard, I much preferred 'Masculin Feminin' (1966), so if you're new to him, I would start there instead. You may also try the Truffaut film we see on the marquee of a theater towards the end, 'Jules and Jim' (1962), which was a nice little tip of the cap to his fellow director.

    There is a bleakness to this movie, which has a pretty and thoughtful young woman (Anna Karina), living in beautiful Paris, and yet descending into prostitution following a break-up. Director Jean-Luc Godard gives us twelve vignettes that are intentionally simple and unassuming to paint the picture. It's worth seeing, but at least for me, there are better French New Wave pictures, and certainly less depressing ones. Anna Karina is lovely but I don't think she delivered a lot of range in this performance. One major exception early on in her new job is when she desperately tries to avoid a customer's kiss on the mouth. The look in her eyes as she squirms around is heart-rending, and disabuses us of any ooh-la-la fantasies we may have about her in this role. Another nice scene is when she dances to a jukebox song with awkward cuteness, trying to entice the few men watching her. To his credit, Godard is unflinching in his honesty, and there is no sentimentality here. I loved the thoughtful scenes, the one where she's in the theater watching the 1928 Carl Theodor Dreyer film 'The Passion of Joan of Arc', and then later picking an older man's brain about philosophy in a café. The street scenes in Paris were nice to see, though sometimes the film comes close to descending into a home movie project. Godard was making a point about the realities of life, and employing new filmmaking techniques while telling the story. It doesn't always make for great entertainment though, such as the section that's almost a mini-documentary on prostitution in Paris at the time. The ending is also ridiculously abrupt; it is a grand statement but to me borders on pretentiousness. Is it over-compensating for not showing some of the more painful aspects of prostitution along the way? (STD's, being beaten up, being degraded, etc?). Until then, with the exception of the attempted kiss scene, the 'insight' we get is mostly just a beautiful model being bored by her tricks. From Godard, I much preferred 'Masculin Feminin' (1966), so if you're new to him, I would start there instead. You may also try the Truffaut film we see on the marquee of a theater towards the end, 'Jules and Jim' (1962), which was a nice little tip of the cap to his fellow director.

  • Apr 26, 2018

    Every shot choice every camera movement every edit decision. Perfection.

    Every shot choice every camera movement every edit decision. Perfection.

  • Feb 14, 2018

    This fascinating film explores a prostitute's life. Its exploration of how men and women perceive one another is made more stark by the experimental use of sound and lengthy dialogue. Its obscurity undermines 'watchability' at times.

    This fascinating film explores a prostitute's life. Its exploration of how men and women perceive one another is made more stark by the experimental use of sound and lengthy dialogue. Its obscurity undermines 'watchability' at times.

  • Feb 11, 2018

    1001 movies to see before you die. A bleak look at French prostitutes.

    1001 movies to see before you die. A bleak look at French prostitutes.

  • Oct 07, 2017

    This proved to be more entertaining than most French movies. Especially the part where Anna's dancing in the billiards room and the guy does an impression of a kid blowing up a balloon. With every French movie that I watch, I understand more and more why it's so easy to parody French films. The ending took a weird turn of events. And the whole Philosophical conversation, I was hoping for it to finish the sooner the better. Overall, the movie is like every other French film, only this one was a little more interesting.

    This proved to be more entertaining than most French movies. Especially the part where Anna's dancing in the billiards room and the guy does an impression of a kid blowing up a balloon. With every French movie that I watch, I understand more and more why it's so easy to parody French films. The ending took a weird turn of events. And the whole Philosophical conversation, I was hoping for it to finish the sooner the better. Overall, the movie is like every other French film, only this one was a little more interesting.