Get (re)acquainted with “sa vie”

Perhaps you’ve already heard but today the Criterion Collection released Jean-Luc Godard’s fourth feature, “Vivre sa vie” (1962), on what is no doubt a handsome new DVD.

I’m not embellishing when I say that “Vivre sa vie” is one of the greatest, most poignant and most formally striking films ever made; it may be the single most powerful document of love between a fragile young woman (Anna Karina) and a slightly older man who finds poetry in her every gesture (Godard, whose gaze is manifested through Raoul Coutard’s revolutionary camerawork) in all art.

The film’s rewatchability is almost unparalleled—of all Godard’s work (much of which I prefer), it is “Vivre sa vie” that I return to a couple times a year, just to make sure that it remains as affecting and potent as it seemed to me the first time I saw it.

Armed and dangerous with her raven bob and buttoned-up cardigan, traipsing around Paris with a breathtaking (har har) mixture of whimsicality and precocity, Karina is the image of beauty as a bottomless pond on a windless day. As everybody seems to know at this point, all you need to make a film is a girl and a gun, and “Vivre sa vie” is as perfect an illustration of this axiom as any in Godard’s oeuvre. I can’t wait to check the new Criterion disc out; it practically goes without saying that you should go out of your way to do so yourself. “Vivre sa vie” is now available for rental at Four Star Video Heaven.

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