Independent Hero

Anna Karina

It is possible that the name immediately brings to mind the magnetic eyes, the frank smile, a dozen films – and what a dozen films – the 60s effervescence of the French Nouvelle Vague, the epithets of an icon, muse, star. Because all this is fair, but also reductive and because radiance tends to overshadow, the intensity of the course, the risk, the variation, are less visible. An actress, Anna Karina has a filmography of more than 60 titles with a Danish beginning, a French epicenter, an international amplitude, and a relevant work in theater. The ability to maintain an inescapable image, and to compose very different characters in very diverse interpretations. As a director, she signed two films. As a singer, her discography was released in vinyl and digital data. As a writer, she has credits as a scriptwriter and published novels1.

“Lights! Camera! Action! … “In the playful off-camera exclamation, Anna Karina, or should we say Angéla, at the start of the sentimental musical comedy, in Technicolor and CinemaScope, which is her second film with Jean-Luc Godard, drops all clichés. Evidently using them. Une femme est une femme(1961). We are in the cinema(in capital and colorful letters) when the credits show the names of Brialy, Karina, Belmondo in (capital and colorful) letters that overlap the image in the shots of each one of them. At this point we hear the three words of command of the trio’s female, in English, as in a Hollywood film.

For example, from Lubitsch, a name that has already appeared (in capital and colorful letters), because what follows is taken from the American film of the 1930s in which Miriam Hopkins unsettles Frederic March and Gary Cooper and tells them how they should live together, the three of them, Design for Living. This is the most vigorous film Godard ever made. When she feels sad, Angéla offers herself a cinema interlude, or turns to books to take in the words gracefully. Not infamous, but a femme, Karina will swirl, sing, giggle, quieten, unsettle, until the final wink – one of the most eloquent gazes towards the camera of her eight films with Godard: between 1960 and 1967, seven features (Le petit soldat,Une Femme est une femme, Vivre sa vie, Bande à part, Alphaville,Pierrot le fou, Made in U.S.A.) and the short filmed as a segment of a collective film, very common at the time (Anticipation, ou: L’Amour en l’an 2000, last segment of Le plus vieux métier du monde). These were not their only films at the time, but it’s true that the core of this director-actress duet is a defining chapter in their filmographies, in the wave’s novelty, on its track. Thus, essential for the History of modern cinema.

Her hair up, a light trench coat, dark knee-length skirt, flat shoes since she is tall, blouse and red socks, like umbrella under the arm, while crossing the streets of Paris full of cafes, bookstores, a strip bar and the attic of that film. It was Karina’s first Parisian image to be seen on film screens, since Une femme est une femme premiered before the films with Éric Rohmer and Agnès Varda (Présentation ou Charlotte et son steak; Les fiancés du pont Mac Donald ou (Méfiez-vous de lunettes noires), in a burlesque-romantic-cinephile couple with Godard, which would have an autonomous existence as the film within the film in Cléo de 5 à 7, 1961. It premiered before Le petit soldat(1960), a story of Geneva whose political content drew censorship in war years in Algeria, was delayed by it. In a recorded commentary on the film, Godard presents her: “Two blue eyes: Giraudoux. A red umbrella: Aragon. Angéla la voilà.”

A girl, a gun and a song

A Danish in Paris. When Une femme est une femmewas presented in Berlin, the jury awarded her originality, her youth, her audacity, the impertinence with which she shook the classic rules of comedy, distinguishing Karina for “the revelation of a promising star with rare qualities in an emerging actress.” Her absolute premiere had been a couple of years before, in the 11 minutes of Pigen og skoeneor The Girl with the Shoesby Ib Schmedes, awarded in Cannes. Then, the girl born in Copenhagen in 1940, raised by her maternal grandparents in a country under German occupation during the war, was named Hanna Karin Blarke Bayer.

A free spirit since she was very young (she began to work at 14), she listened to music and went to the cinema. She always wanted to be an actress. In the portrait filmed by Dennis Berry in which he challenges her memory in a theater in the Quartier Latin, Anna Karina souviens-toi(2017), we discover how much she loved Louis Armstrong, how she discovered Chaplin, her fascination with Judy Garland. Une femme est une femmeshows already an attraction for musical comedies. Godard gives her the cue, gives it to Angherde“tograpicths ch she loved se he warg ”éla: “I wanted to be in a musical comedy alongside Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly.”

It was in Paris, to where she fled in 1958, that Coco Chanel met her, already a photographic model, and gave her the name, Anna Karina. This was when Godard met her, who, having seen her in an ad, in a bubble bath, tried to get her to play a small part in À bout de souffle. It didn’t happen, it would happen in Le petit soldat, and they were together before the shooting ended. Karina used to say that Jean-Luc was her Pygmalion. We became accustomed to watching her story in the synchrony/asynchrony of life and cinema, of which the films allow for a marital portrait, or perhaps the portrait of Karina’s crossing, in very different characters from film to film. They are all touched by this woman’s mark, an actress, acting in a deep complicity with the camera.

Lighter or darker, exuberant, contained, in black and white or in gaudy colors, aligned with the rhythm, the choreography of movements and composition, the dialogues, the energy of each film in which she was – the names are important – Veronica Dreyer, the Danish who reminds us of a play by Jean Giraudoux, “Leslie Caron’s mouth”, “Velasquez-grey eyes” in a political incursion and romantic exacerbation at 24 frames per second; Angéla-woman; Nana, existential, in the twelve chapters of the most moving portrait JLG made of her, who films her in tears, sunk in the darkness before the projection of Renée Falconetti’s close-ups in La passion de Jeanne d’Arcby Dreyer; Odile in the “suburban western” in which they run through the Louvre on a fleeing visit; Natacha von Braun, taken by poetry in Alphaville’s dystopia; the adventurous Marianne Renoir, who kills and dies alongside Pierrot, le fou, in fact Ferdinand, that is, Belmondo, showing us the emotion that Samuel Fuller talks about when explaining what cinema is; Paula Nelson, “in a Walt Disney film with blood” and some sadness; Natascha/Eleanor Romeovich, who in the last image of the two Godard films closely, ending in a close-up: Karina looking at the camera, the word “end” to the left, cuts to black.

JLG offered her many songs, dance steps, jukebox moments. Michel Deville had anticipated the dance, when he directed her in Ce soir or Ce soir ou jamais(1961, before Une femme est une femme), which gave her an extraordinary popularity. Anna(Pierre Koralnik, 1967) marks another decisive meeting, with Serge Gainsbourg, who wrote 14 songs for her, including Sous le soleil exactement and Roller Girl. What is it that is special about you, they asked her – “Vocal resources, it’s very rare. Sense of humor, it’s a very rare thing. And sensuality.” Filmed in color for television, the pop and graphic musical comedy takes her name and follows her through the streets of Paris and Deauville beach. Annais a festive ode to Karina, whose photographic image falls deeply in love with Jean-Claude Brialy, just like Fred Astaire is charmed by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face(Stanley Donen, 1957). Jacques Rivette also filmed her singing, when he directs her again after La religieuse(1966), which had a stirring effect, was banned, and is perhaps the film in which Karina/Suzanne Simonin “proves” to be the great actress, if there were any doubts: in Haut bas fragile(1995), Anna is Sarah who sings Mon amant perduand La fille à l’envers.

La religieuse is a true wonder in her career as an actress. In the course of her European and American carreer, Karina was directed by Valerio Zurlini at the sacrifice of Elenitza inLa soldatesse(1965), by Visconti who gave her the role of Maria Cardona in Lo straniero(1967), by Cukor who saw her Melissa in Justine(1969), the same year she was Elizabeth or Margot (Michael Kohlhaas, der Rebel, by Volker Schlöndorff, Laughter in the Darkby Tony Richardson), by André Delvaux (Rendez-vous à Bray, 1971; L’oeuvre au noir, 1988), by Fassbinder in the enigmatic Chinesisches roulette(1976) or by Raoul Ruiz as the mother of Jim/Melvil Poupaud in Treasure Island(1985) from Stevenson, partially filmed in Portugal.

Her Life to Live, the title of Godard’s film applies. When she decided to make her directorial debut as an improbable step in 1973, Karina chose a pun for the title and composed it in six parts of a realism punctuated by burlesque and melancholy. In Vivre ensemble, she becomes producer, screenwriter and actress, opposite Michel Lancelot in a conjugal portrait imbued with the spirit of time in the Parisian and New York spaces of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter (which are hers) and Harlem and Greenwich Village (taking advantage of the shooting of another film in the United States). She conceived it as a film exclusively based on feelings because, she said at the time, she only believes in the movements of the soul. She filmed it independently, with a small budget, in four weeks and 16 mm film. She took it to Cannes, received François Truffaut’s praise: “your film has nothing vague or decorative. Your brain is clear. You know what you want and you got it on screen.”

Maria João Madeira
(Cinemateca Portuguesa – Museu do Cinema)

Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do Cinema and IndieLisboa, 2-11 May 2019


Jean-Luc Godard, France/Italy, fic., 1965, 99′

Pierre Koralnik, France, fic., 1967, 87′

Bande à part/Band of Outsiders
Jean-Luc Godard, France, fic., 1964, 95′

Chinesisches Roulette/Chinese Roulette
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Germany/France, fic., 1976, 86′

Haut, bas, fragile/Up, Down, Fragile
Jacques Rivette, France/Switzerland, fic., 1995, 169’

George Cukor, USA, fic., 1969, 116’

Made in USA
Jean-Luc Godard, France, fic., 1966, 90’

Michael Kohlhaas, der rebell/Man on Horseback
Volker Schlöndorff , Germany, fic., 1969, 99’

Le petit soldat/The Little Soldier
Jean-Luc Godard, France, fic., 1963, 88’

Pierrot le fou
Jean-Luc Godard, France/Italy, fic., 1965, 110’

La religieuse/The Nun
Jacques Rivette, France, fic., 1966, 140’

Le soldatesse/The Camp Followers
Valerio Zurlini, Italy/France/Germany/, fic., 1965, 120’

Lo straniero/The Stranger
Luchino Visconti, Italy/France/Argelia, fic., 1967, 104’

Treasure Island
Raoul Ruiz, Reino Unido/França/EUA, fic., 1985, 115’

Une femme est une femme/A Woman is a Woman
Jean-Luc Godard, France/Italy, fic., 1961, 85’

Vivre ensemble/Living Together
Anna Karina, France, fic., 1973, 92’

Vivre sa vie/My Life to Live
Jean-Luc Godard, France, fic., 1962, 83’


Anna Karina souviens-toi
Dennis Berry, France, doc., 2017, 54′

Anticipation ou l’amour en an 2000
Jean-Luc Godard, France, fic., 1967, 20′

Les fiancés du pont Mac Donald ou (méfiez-vous des lunettes noires)/Beware of Dark Sunglasses
Agnès Varda, France, fic., 1961, 5′

Pigen og skoene/La jeune filles aux souliers
Ib Schmedes, Denmark, fic., 1959, 11’

Présentation ou Charlotte et son steak
Éric Rohmer, France, fic., 1960, 12’


Brazil in a Trance

On August 31, 2016 Dilma Rousseff was removed from presidency in the course of a politically motivated deposition process. On January 1, 2019 Jair Bolsonaro took over the presidency after the elections that divided Brazil and fostered a historical review and hatred among people – based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, ideological position…

What are the consequences of this state of affairs in cinema? This is the question we ask in this program, composed entirely of films from the last 12 months and made by young filmmakers (several of them newcomers). 22 films spread across five sections of the festival, including a few world, international or European premieres. Filmmakers that were already awarded at the festival, whom we follow closely, and others who have just arrived. But all are bonded by the desire to film with the urgency that the social atmosphere imposes and to attack reality with the most varied narrative tools. The cinema becomes the seismograph of an entranced country.

This is a program that seeks to shine a light (of the cinema projector) on those that the current dominant political discourse intends to alienate: starting with activist involvement in the streets and the urgency of filming while fighting and fighting through filming (Democracia em Vertigem,Vigíliae Primeiro Ato); to the ironic and dark futuristic dystopias about oppression, about lack of sense and lack of future and about a past that is plagued by forgetfulness every day (Divino Amor, A Noite Amarela, Plano Controlee Princesa Morta do Jacuí); there is also room for the intimacy of an open and queer bed, where sex is a bonding, poetic and political act, and where bodies and identities assert themselves before our gaze (A Rosa Azul de Novalis, Seus Ossos e Seus Olhos,Reforma, Tea for Two, Guaxumae Os Últimos Românticos); without forgetting the natural strength of the daily heroes, black workers, transgender people, the periphery, the interior and the countryside (Temporada,Querência, Fabiana, No Coração do Mundoe Sete Anos em Maio); and also the urgency of not forgetting the tortured history of a country that dreamed of a tropical utopia of which today only disturbing reflexes remain (Tragam-me a Cabeça de Carmen M., Os Jovens Baumann,Domingoe Magalhães).

Marguerite Duras wrote of Glauber Rocha’s film that inspires the title of this program, “a dark poem that shows how tropical dictatorships are made and undone,” and it could be attributed to any of the films we now present. The word “trance” has different meanings: the feeling that a great evil is approaching, an ecstasy with more or less mystical outbursts, it also means determination, the conjugation of the verb “transir”, to pass through, and the verb “transar”, to fuck. The cinema of an “Entranced Brazil” is all the above. At the same time, we see an awareness of the dark shadow spreading throughout the country and its cultural production (some of the films were touched by the gift of premonition) but also the determination to face this obscurantism. There is also a desire for a feverish transfiguration of the real and of history (with both upper case and lower case), only possible through the delirium of music, activism, prayers and sex (sometimes all at the same time). The Brazil that we present is therefore back to back with its crumbling reality, facing it now by the transforming power of cinema, the great dream machine, inventor of all possibilities and multiple futures, and by the awareness that there is still beauty everywhere, and that love and humor are weapons against oppression.

This is thus a program of hope, which firmly faces the torment. Brazilian cinema is more alive today than ever, and every day new artists awaken with renewed gazes on the world (theirs and everyone else’s) and who, holding their camera, write the stories that prevail. We pay homage to them (through their films) – independent, counter-current and opposition heroes, who dare to make films in a state of siege and in a state of alertness.


Divino Amor/Divine Love
Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil/Norway/Switzerland/ Uruguay/France/Chile, fic., 2019, 140′

Clara Linhart, Fellipe Barbosa, Brazil/France, fic., 2018, 95′

Brunna Laboissière, Brazil, doc., 2018, 89′

Petra Costa, Brazil, doc., 2019, 113′

Os Jovens Baumann/The Young Baumanns*
Bruna Carvalho Almeida, Brazil, fic./doc., 2018, 71′

No Coração do Mundo/In the Heart of the World
Maurilio Martins, Gabriel Martins, Brazil, fic., 2019, 121′

A Noite Amarela/The Yellow Night**
Ramon Porto Mota, Brazil, fic., 2019, 98′

Helvécio Marins Jr., Brazil/Germany, fic./doc., 2019, 90′

A Rosa Azul de Novalis/The Blue Flower of Novalis*
Gustavo Vinagre, Rodrigo Carneiro, Brazil, doc., 2019, 70′

Seus Ossos e Seus Olhos/Your Bones and Your Eyes*
Caetano Gotardo, Brazil, fic., 2019, 118′

Temporada/Long Way Home***
André Novais Oliveira, Brazil, fic., 2018, 113′

Tragam-me a Cabeça de Carmen M./Bring Me The Head of Carmen M.****
Felipe Bragança, Catarina Wallenstein, Brazil/ Portugal, exp./fic., 2019, 60′


Nara Normande, France/Brazil, anim., 2018, 14’

Lucas Lazarini, Brazil, doc., 2018, 23′

Mais Triste que Chuva num Recreio de Colégio/Sadder than Playtime on a Rainy Day
Lobo Mauro, Brazil, doc./exp., 2018, 14′

Plano Controle
Juliana Antunes, Brazil, fic., 2018, 16′

Primero Ato/First Act
Matheus Parizi Carvalho, Brazil, fic., 2018, 20′

Princesa Morta do Jacuí/Dead Princess of Jacui***
Marcela Ilha Bordin, Brazil, fic., 2018, 17′

Fábio Leal, Brazil, fic., 2018, 15′

Sete Anos em Maio/Seven Years in May*
Affonso Uchôa, Brazil/Argentina, fic./doc., 2019, 42′

Tea for Two/Tea for Two
Julia Katharine, Brazil, fic., 2018, 25′

Os Últimos Românticos†
João Cândido Zacharias, Brazil/Portugal, fic., 2019, 11′

Rafael Urban, Brazil, doc., 2019, 27′

* Also part of the Silvestre section
** Also part of the Mouth of Madness section
*** Also part of the International Competition section
**** Also part of the National Competition section