As I mentioned in class last week I have been thinking quite a bit about Anna Karina.
Granted, I have only seen her in Bande à part/Band of Outsiders, Vivre sa vie/My Life to Live and Alphaville therefore I can only provide an initial reaction and not a concise and chronological contemplation of my feelings towards all of their work together. However, I struggle with my personal reaction to her. Yes, she is enjoyable to gaze upon although I generally don’t “believe” her, whatever that ultimately means. And yet, in a distillation of media and time, I believe her more or I believe in her more in a still and halted impressionistic flash of the frame- in a snippet of information and light à la Barthes’ “punctum” of personal interpretation/meaning. In filmic action I struggle with her struggle (if you [I] will), and in stillness I have more clarity.
So what it is about her? Similar to the wrestler in Barthes’ essay “The World of Wrestling,” actors are pursued and cast due to their “basic sign” or the “obviousness of their roles” within their body and thus the complete physique of their present character. Whereas Eddie Constantine is an established mystery, Anna Karina is evidently beautiful. Her eyes – rimmed in liner and her lashes painted with mascara – are aware of the gesture and angles of flirtation and submission. Her lips are plump and studied in the proper nuances of pronunciation. She is ideal on multiple levels, and, due to her novice acting skills, I see her as the perfect canvas for Godard. Of course, my musings are solely based upon my thoughts and not a studied history of their relationship. And for now, I like it this way because this is my authored sketch:
Anna Karina as Godard’s perfect ready-made
Godard on Vivre sa vie: “…an actor likes to feel he’s in control of his character, even if it isn’t true, and with me they rarely do…I like using different actors; but working with her is different. I think this was the first time she became fully aware of her talent and used it” (Godard on Godard 180-6).
Although Karina is not the only interpreter of Godard’s auteurist cinematic vision and revolutionary directorial style, I feel like she is a smoother surface on which Godard imprints his awareness of gesture and function. And yet, her emulations retain a ratio of nonchalance for me – a retained ratio that is completely her own. Real and representational/ representational and real: (however) when she regards and emulates Falconetti in Dreyer’s La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, I feel the most due to my feelings towards the semiotics of this iconic, indexical and symbolic film: she is Jeanne d’Arc; I am; you are; we all are (Falconetti/Karina). Morrey addresses Godard’s convergence of life and cinema on multiple levels (see pp. 24-25) and for me, at this moment, Karina is the ideal interpreter of Godard’s brush, pen, utterance and imprint even considering (or due to) my hesitations towards her.