Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 7:30pm
Anna Karina's Vivre Ensemble

361 Stagg Street, Suite 407, Brooklyn

Vivre Ensemble, Anna Karina, 1973, digital projection, 92 mins

Anna Karina possessed a screen presence as memorable as any the cinema has yet produced; neglected, by contrast, are her efforts behind the camera. She took on the role of director only twice, and this evening at Light Industry we’ll be presenting a recent restoration of her rarely seen debut, Vivre Ensemble. The film tracks the romance of two thirty-something Parisians, the free-spirited Julie (played by Karina), an erstwhile actress and sometimes escort, and the buttoned-up schoolteacher Alain (the journalist Michel Lancelot). Its plot does not advance so much as drift, leisurely, from love’s first blush to the resentments of a monotonous domesticity, with a foray to New York in between. The atmospheres of Vivre Ensemble are charged throughout with the politics of the day, like the emblems of May ‘68, or the anti-war street theater the characters encounter stateside. Indeed, one might see in the film a second, parallel arc, a shift from the buoyancy and optimism of the late 60s to the dimmed revolutionary spirits that followed.

“Having been at the film’s premiere at Cannes and then having re-seen it shortly afterwards in Paris,” wrote critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, “I still remembered it almost 40 years later when I selected and presented it on January 21, 2012, at Toronto’s Lightbox, as part of a series celebrating Cannes’ La Semaine de la Critique. Seeing it again on that occasion, I found it fascinating—very brave, very personal, and also very, very 1973, in quite illuminating ways. The occasional autobiographical echoes reflecting Karina’s earlier relation to Godard only added to the fascination, and Karina herself suggested to me in a brief phone conversation that the film was badly received by the French film industry in part because the decision of a local actress to write and direct her own feature was virtually unprecedented at the time.” Karina’s peers in 1973 may not have known what to make of Vivre Ensemble, but seen from the vantage of the present it offers us something remarkable: a star who has wrested back control over her own image, framing it as she sees fit.

Tickets - Pay what you can ($10 suggested donation), available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.