Friday, April 30, 2010

Godard Misfire

Vivre sa vie/My Life to Live (Criterion) - Subtitled A Film in 12 Tableaux, Jean-Luc Godard’s 1962 exploration of a housewife’s casual drift into prostitution is marred by the blank slate that was his then-muse, Anna Karina. Neither as attractive nor as talented as her defenders say (not to mention Godard himself), Karina has scant screen presence, and is certainly inferior to Macha Meril, so good as the unhappy housewife in Godard’s far superior A Married Woman (1964). But Raoul Coutard’s black and white photography and Godard’s own inventive effects (created through editing and composition, not CGI) more than offset the lack of a leading lady. Criterion’s Blu-ray transfer is, as always, peerless; the many extras include an audio commentary, vintage Karina interview, and excerpts from a French TV show and book about prostitution.
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