Friday, December 4, 2009

Anna Karina (1940-)

Well, why not Anna Karina? She's cool. And I've had an awful day including a second workday at a door-to-door sales job, loosing my cell phone and an ambulance ride to the mental clinic. After a hot bath I decided to make an effort to put something up on my blog, so here it is! I'll take another shot at my life on Monday.

Anna Karina was born 1940 in Denmark as Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer. Her childhood was spent at her maternal grandparents and several foster homes, causing her to constantly long for adoration and trying several times to run away from home.

She began her career in the entertainment business at an early age by singing in cabarets, appearing in commercials and making a living as a model. She studied paint in Denmark and earned some money selling her work, until she one day had a tough row with her mother and hitchhiked to Paris.

She came to Paris in 1958 (being 17 years old), speaking no French and having no money. Luckily enough though, she was discovered sitting at the café Les Deux Magots by a woman from an advertising agency. Soon enough she had become a popular model, meeting legendary fashion icons like Pierre Cardin and Coco Chanel.

French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard noticed Anna Karina in a soap commercial, where she appeared in a bathtub with soapsuds covering her body. At that time Godard was still a film critic for the legendary French film magazine Cahiers du cinéma, but had begun the casting of what would become his great directing debut À bout de souffle (Breathless, 1960). He offered Anna Karina a minor role that she refused when she heard that there was going to be a nude scene. When Godard mentioned her naked soap commercial appearance, she is said to have responded:

"Are you mad? I was wearing a bathing suit in those ads - the soapsuds went up to my neck. It was in your mind that I was undressed."

Godard decided not to include the character in the final film, but instead contacted Anna Karina when it was time to cast another films: Une femme est une femme (A Woman Is a Woman, 1961), Vivre sa vie (My Life to Live, 1962), Le petit soldat (The Little Soldier, 1963), Bande à part (Band of Outsiders, 1964), Alphaville (1965), Pierrot le fou (Crazy Pete, 1965) and Made in U.S.A (1966).
In 1961 she was awarded the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival for Une Femme est une femme.

The large number of films by Jean-Luc Godard is no coincidence: they fell in love with each other during the filming of Une femme et une femme, but divorced in 1967. She was married three times after that.
Anna Karina did however work with quite a few other important directors such as George Cukor (Justine, 1969), Jacques Rivette (The Nun, 1966), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Chinese Roulette, 1976) and Ingmar Bergman (on stage).

Anna Karina with her first husband, Jean-Luc Godard.

Aside from acting, Anna Karina made a popular attempt as a singer. Perhaps her most famous song was Sous le soleil exactement, written by Serge Gainsbourg. Below is Anna Karina singing the song, a clip take from the 1967 TV film Anna. (I want those round glasses!)
If you'd like to see something a lot more crazy, watch her Roller-Girl.Yikes, those legs are pretty.

And now... pic spam!


C.K. Dexter Haven said...

Excellent multi-media post! ;) I'm an ignorant ape when it comes to European cinema (and a lot of other things, too!) but the fact that Karina worked with Cukor on "Justine", a film scored by the great Jerry Goldsmith, will give me the inspiration to actually see this movie and explore more of her work.

That's what a great blog does. Thank you, Lolita. :)

Sarah said...

I <3 her :D

Anonymous said...

Hey, she does seem pretty cool!

And I hope your day gets a little better :)

Lolita said...

C.K Dexter Haven:
Oh, don't miss out on French cinema! It's completely different from Hollywood, it's really fascinating! I just made my boyfriend watch Jules et Jim with me today, and even though he wanted to strangle Christine throughout the entire film, he really loved it. Skip French cinema and you will miss a lot!

Yay! :)

Yeah, a Google picture search revealed a lot of cool photos of her!
Haha, thanks a lot ;)

Sarah said...

OH WOW, I just saw the revamped version of the post, I love it! Well done, Lo! :)

Chaunce said...

I love the soundtrack album that goes with Anna and Roller Girl is possibly one of my favourite records of all time.

Keith said...

Good luck. I wish you the best. Hope you have a nice week. Cheers!

Mykal said...

Lolita: You must explain that lousy day in more detail some time. It sounds like a great movie. -- Mykal

Mykal said...

Oh, and Anna is very cute. -- Mykal (again).

Lolita said...


Oh, that was a great music tip! I'll look for it.

Haha, well I quit that job now after two days. Let's see how much of my sad impressions of the working life I will entertain you with!