Jean-Luc Godard’s fourth feature – his third with wife and muse Anna Karina – charts in 12 tableaux a would-be actress’s descent into prostitution.

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Film details

Alternative titles

  • MY LIFE TO LIVE Alternative
  • IT'S MY LIFE Alternative

Cast & Credits


“Godard began to document the real contradictions of real people’s lives, and to move away from the kind of light romantic intrigues with which the Nouvelle Vague had become associated. Vivre Sa Vie marks the beginning of such a departure.”
Douglas Morrey, Jean-Luc Godard, 2005

Jean-Luc Godard cast his then wife Anna Karina as Nana, a shopgirl turned prostitute, in the third of their seven features together. Marking the high point of their collaboration – and their short-lived marriage – the film is a paean to the actress’s beauty, linking her to silent-era stars Louise Brooks (whose distinctive bobbed hair she shares here) and Maria Falconetti, whose performance in Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) is watched by a tearful Nana in one of the most striking sequences.

Shot in black and white by Raoul Coutard, the film features one of the great cinematographer’s most celebrated shots, showing Nana and a customer in the record store where she works, before the camera turns to look out of the window.

Godard returned to the theme of prostitution in Paris in 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967), as did Luis Buñuel in Belle de Jour (1967).

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