USA Today - 08/22/1997
"...A marvel..." -- 4 out of 4 stars
Sight and Sound - 05/01/2005
"The director coaxes a beautifully expressive performance from Anna Karina..."
A.V. Club - 04/21/2010
"[A]s usual for this period in Godard's career, his restless confidence in the language of movies, a language he helped redefine on the fly, smoothes out the patchwork texture. Here, so does the mounting sense of tragedy." -- Grade: A
MY LIFE TO LIVE is Jean-Luc Godard's political, philosophical and, above all, rapturous portrait of a Parisian prostitute who attempts to take control of her own life and understand the meaning of freedom. Godard's technically audacious film is an invigorating masterpiece that strikingly blends original film techniques with genuine human emotion, including long takes, asymmetrical framing, and jarring inter-titles.
Anna Karina is Nana, a distraught young woman who leaves her husband and child with the hopes of becoming a big-screen actress. Realizing the futility of making her dream a reality, she instead is goaded into prostitution by a persuasive pimp. Nana begins to question the decisions she has made, sparking even greater personal confusion and leading toward an inevitably somber conclusion. The tale is divided into 12 chapters that combine a variety of disparate storytelling genres--ranging from Brechtian to B-movie gangster. MY LIFE TO LIVE is a hallmark of the French New Wave, an example of critic-turned-director Godard at the peak of his craft.
MY LIFE TO LIVE is a technically audacious film divided into twelve chapters about a woman who voluntarily becomes a prostitute to better understand the meaning of freedom.
Character Study |
Essential Cinema |
New Wave (Film) |
Filmed on location in Paris, France.
Anna Karina, the film's star and centerpiece, was Jean-Luc Godard's wife at the time the film was made.
Several French intellectual figures made appearances in the film, including noted philosopher Brice Parain, who outlines his theories in a discussion with Karina's character.
Based on a work by Marcel Sacotte. Produced by Films De La Pléiade.