My Life to Live

1962 drama

Rating: 18/20

Plot: After not making it as an actress, a woman in Paris decides to try prostitution instead.

Ah, Anna Karina. From the first shot of this movie--Karina's profile--my soul was crushed and I was distracted by thoughts of the actress eating my heart with dainty silverware from a child's plastic bowl. And I'd sit there and watch the whole thing from the other side of the table, propping my head up, gasping for air as all of my blood leaks out of my chest. I'm crumbling just thinking about her, quite possibly the most beautiful woman to ever walk the earth other than my wife.

Karina's performance, like the direction, never dazzles because it's not allowed to. Godard is often tricky, and there's some trickiness here where he'll shoot scenes of dialogue and only show the backs of people's heads, but there's nothing tricky about what Karina is doing. She just exists on the screen for as long as she needs to, floats through a black and white world where tragedy likely lurks, and she and her character are both too delicate for any world at all but neither know it.

This movie has the flow and technique of a non-comedic Jim Jarmusch movie. I'm not sure how I felt about the chapter titles, mildly intrusive though humorous. The length is just about perfect, as long as a few weeks and as short as a life. It's a bit of a downer despite the effervescence of the star, and the idea that it's a perverse Godard parable is a little bit of a turn-off for whatever reason.  But like that star, the movie is very nearly perfect.

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