IndieWire: Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina: A Marriage on Film

This was a really fun one to make. It was actually my first straight up montage video. I like how it turned out. It kind of reminds me of the old ‘popup video’ show on VH1.

Extended transcript: 

[Jean-Luc] Godard contacted [Anna] Karina after seeing her in a Palmolive commercial. He asked her to play a small role in ‘Breathless.’ She refused when she found out the part required nudity. Godard cast her in the lead role of his next film, ‘Le Petit Soldat.’ Halfway through production, the cast and crew went out to dinner—including Karina and her boyfriend. Godard wrote her a note and put it in her hand under the table. It said, “I Love you. Rendezvous at the Café de la Paix at midnight.” Karina left her boyfriend and began a relationship with Godard. They were happy. The production of Godard’s next film, ‘A Woman is a Woman’, found the couple often arguing. Godard adjusted the story to reflect the difficulties of their relationship in a humorous way. Karina became pregnant over the course of filming. Godard proposed and they were soon married. A friend and fellow filmmaker, Agnes Varda, cast the couple in a small part of her film ‘Cleo From 5 to 7.’ Godard was usually preoccupied with his work and would often leave Karina home alone. In the spring, she had a miscarriage and fell ill. When her health returned, she acted in another film while Godard attempted to set up a new project. Karina began an affair with her co-star. In 1961, Karina decided to divorce Godard, but they made up and started work on ‘Vivre sa vie.’ In 1963, Godard wrote and directed a film about the end of a marriage titled ‘Contempt.’ It drew largely on his relationship with Karina with many lines being things Karina actually said. Their divorce was finalized at the end of 1964. Many of Godard’s subsequent films starring Karina dealt with their relationship. In ‘Alphaville,’ Karina’s character does not know the meaning of the word “love.” In ‘Pierrot le fou,’ Karina’s character betrays the male lead. Their last film together, ‘Made in U.S.A.,’ has Karina shoot and kill a man meant to represent Godard himself. Despite the bitterness on set, these films feature many close-ups of Karina, which seems to suggest a longing. The last film in Godard’s cinematic period, titled ‘Weekend,’ depicts a harsh world littered with fiery car wrecks and rife with anger and even cannibalism. The film ends with the words, “end of cinema.”

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