DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Anna Karina Day

 

‘The sad-eyed, raven-haired Guinevere of the international art film’s belle epoque, Anna Karina will always possess a hallowed place in movie history: She was its first postmodern heroine, its first obscure object of cinephiliac desire. Godard’s ambiguous ardor for Karina, still visible to the naked eye in the seven features they made together between 1961 and 1966, had everything to do with his love for cinema. Karina’s unique relationship with Godard’s camera (an electric nexus of casual hunger and locked gazes that has eluded Godard with any other actress, and Karina with any other director) is unprecedented in its reverberating fascination. The era’s other iconicized women—Monica Vitti, Jeanne Moreau, Liv Ullmann, Stephane Audran, Machiko Kyo, etc.—all had their communicants, but Karina’s role in the slipstream defined Movieness by being all things to all witnesses: star, beauty, impulsive Every-waif, director’s inamorata, self-conscious movie image, genre spoofer, liberated gender-combat totem. Perhaps most thrillingly of all, she was the audacious, and always somewhat remote, heartthrob at the center of cinema’s bravest self-exploratory liaison.

‘So, meeting Karina today, at 60 and decidedly removed from the grainy, restless seventh heaven in which we’ve come to know her so well, is a shock. For one thing, she’s tall. “Oh, everybody is surprised by that,” she says in a bouncy, cigarette growl. “I just looked small because my eyes are so big. It’s the structure of the face—Sophia Loren and Ursula Andress always seemed enormous, but actually they’re quite petite.”

‘Celebrating Rialto’s refurbished re-release of Band of Outsiders, Karina is more than happy to revisit her Godardian odyssey, but unsurprisingly her portrait of filmmaking with the master offers up no secrets. For one thing, she never asked questions—as in, Why is the center of a heist film taken up with the three protagonists just hanging out and dancing in a bar? It seems impeccably spontaneous and lovely to us after the fact, but on the set it must’ve seemed, well, irregular, no? “I did as I was told. I had my character; we’d discuss it—what she’d wear, what she’d think. . . . C’mon, this was Jean-Luc! You didn’t interrogate him. People would always accuse us of improvising, but it’s absolutely not true. Jean-Luc’s scripts were always carefully revised, red pages, blue pages, yellow pages. Sure, often he’d make up dialogue on the spot, but everything was rehearsed, particularly the dance sequence in Bande à Part. When I hear about actors trying to control their movies—tsk, tsk. When I work with a director, he’s the director; what he wants me to do, I do. Especially with Jean-Luc: He’s such a genius; you must trust him completely. And I did. Anyway, every actor should once direct a film, so next time he’ll give less shit.”

‘Godard a workaday autocrat, Karina an obedient ingenue? While life couldn’t have been that ordinary, it adds a shine to the Godard-filmed Karina, an impulsive and stunning creature who inhabits the film sphere alone. Of course, for Karina that was merely the beginning: In the years since their collaboration, the Denmark-born ex-model has been fiercely active, having made dozens of films, and also performed in scores of TV movies, cabarets, and plays. (Next, she’s appearing as a chanteuse in Jonathan Demme’s The Truth About Charlie.) This last year has been spent mostly on the road, singing and promoting her new CD. But she’s still pestered and beloved for those intimate little experiments as new audiences continually discover them. “It’s a gift, an honor—these movies were made so long ago, and yet young people come up to me and thank me for making them. In Japan, the U.S., Europe, wherever, youngsters as young as 15, they don’t say, ‘I like that old movie,’ they say, ‘My God, that’s it, that’s life, that’s how I think.’ You know, back then Jean-Luc was criticized for being too new. Now it seems just right.”‘ — Michael Atkinson, Village Voice

 

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Stills







































































 

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Extras


Anna Karina interview in the early 1960s


Anna Karina’s Closet Picks


Anna KARINA : “Gainsbourg voulait tourner avec moi avant de mourir” (2011)

 

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Further

Anna Karina @ IMDb
Anna Karina Fan Site
fuck yeah! anna karina
‘Beauty Icon: Anna Karina
Anna Karina interviewed @ The A.V. Club
Anna Karina @ The Criterion Collection
hello karina
Anna Karina @ mubi
Anna Karina @ newwavefilms.com
Créteil 31 Honors Anna Karina
‘Anna Karina and the American Night’

 

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Songs


‘Rollergirl’


Serge Gainsbourg & Anna Karina ‘Ne dis rien’


‘La vie est magnifique’


‘Ma ligne de chance’


‘Sous le soleil exactement’

 

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Interview: Anna Karina on Godard
from Projections 13: Women Film-makers on Film-making

 

How did you meet Jean-Luc Godard?

Anna Karina: I did a lot of commercials for soaps and things like that. Jean-Luc saw a couple and asked me to come and see him because he was preparing Breathless. He said, “There’s a little part in the film. You have to take your clothes off.” I said, “I don’t want to.” And he said, “In that case, you don’t do the film.” That was fine by me and I left. Three months later he sent me a telegram saying there might be a part for me in another film. I showed it to my friends and said, “This guy wants to go to bed with me or something. I don’t want to go there.” They said, “You must be crazy. He just did a picture called Breathless. It’s not out yet but everyone says it’s fantastic. You absolutely must go and see him.”

I went back to his office. He said he wanted me to do the part and that I should sign the contract the next day. I asked him what the picture was about and he told me it was political. I said, “I could never do that. My French is not good enough and I know nothing about politics.” He said, “It doesn’t matter – you just have to do what I tell you to do.” And I said, “But do I have to take my clothes off?” And he said, “Not at all.” I told him that I couldn’t sign because I was underage. He said I should come back with my mother and that the production would fly her down from Copenhagen. I phoned her and said, “Mother, I’m going to star in a picture in France, and it’s very important you come.” “In a picture – you?” she said. “Yes, and it’s a political picture, Mother.” She said, “You must be out of your mind. You have to go to the hospital to see if you’re ok.” And I said, “No, Mother, you have to take the plane tomorrow because if you don’t come they might change their mind!” She hung up because she didn’t believe it. I phoned back and swore on my grandad’s head it was for real – she knew he was the person I loved the most. So she took the plane and we signed the contract. That’s how I got into The Little Soldier.

How did you and Jean-Luc get together?

That happened while we were shooting the picture in Geneva. It was a strange love story from the beginning. I could see Jean-Luc was looking at me all the time, and I was looking at him too, all day long. We were like animals. One night we were at this dinner in Lausanne. My boyfriend, who was a painter, was there too. And suddenly I felt something under the table – it was Jean-Luc’s hand. He gave me a piece of paper and then left to drive back to Geneva. I went into another room to see what he’d written. It said, “I love you. Rendezvous at midnight at the Café de la Prez.” And then my boyfriend came into the room and demanded to see the piece of paper, and he took my arm and grabbed it and read it. He said, “You’re not going.” And I said, “I am.” And he said, “But you can’t do this to me.” I said, “But I’m in love too, so I’m going.” But he still didn’t believe me. We drove back to Geneva and I started to pack my tiny suitcase. He said, “Tell me you’re not going.” And I said, “I’ve been in love with him since I saw him the second time. And I can’t do anything about it.” It was like something electric. I walked there, and I remember my painter was running after me crying. I was, like, hypnotized – it never happened again to me in my life.

So I get to the Cafe de la Prez, and Jean-Luc was sitting there reading a paper, but I don’t think he was really reading it. I just stood there in front of him for what seemed like an hour but I guess was not more that thirty seconds. Suddenly he stopped reading and said,” Here you are. Shall we go?” So we went to his hotel. The next morning when I woke up he wasn’t there. I got very worried. I took a shower, and then he came back about an hour later with the dress I wore in the film – the white dress with flowers. And it was my size, perfect. It was like my wedding dress.

We carried on shooting the film, and, of course, my painter left. When the picture was finished, I went back to Paris with Jean-Luc, Michel Subor, who was the main actor, and Laszlo Szabo, who was also in the film, in Jean-Luc’s American car. We were all wearing dark glasses and we got stopped at the border – I guess they thought we were gangsters. When we arrived in Paris, Jean-Luc dropped the other two off and said to me, “Where are you going?” I said, “I have to stay with you. You’re the only person I have in the world now.” And he said, “Oh my God.” We took two rooms at the top of a hotel and he went to the cutting room every day.

Were you aware that he was reinventing cinema?

We knew we were doing something special. We’d take the films around Paris and out to the provinces and talk to the audiences after the screenings. And some people loved them and some people hated them. One day Jean-Luc and I were sitting in a cafe in Boulevard St Michel and we heard these two students talking about My Life to Live. One was screaming, “I love this picture!” and the other one, who had his back to us, was saying, “I hate spending money on this kind of shit.” And Jean-Luc tapped him on the back, gave him ten francs and said, “OK, you didn’t like my picture. Why don’t you go and see a picture you really like?” The guy was very red-faced and apologetic.

 

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18 of Anna Karina’s 79 films

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Guy Debord On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time (1959)
‘Karina’s first film appearance, although uncredited, dates from 1959, when a soap advertisement in which she appeared as a model was included near the end of Guy Debord’s On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time. The image was accompanied by Debord’s voice-over: “The advertisements during intermissions are the truest reflection of an intermission from life.” Jean-Luc Godard, then a film critic for Cahiers du cinéma, first saw Karina in Debord’s film in a bathtub covered in soapsuds. He was casting his debut feature film, Breathless. He offered her a small part in the film, but she refused when he mentioned that there would be a nude scene. When Godard queried her refusal, referring to the supposed nudity in the Palmolive ads, she is said to have replied “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.”‘ — collaged


Excerpt


The entirety

 

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Jean-Luc Godard A Woman is a Woman (1961)
‘Nouvelle vague euphoria was at its height when Jean-Luc Godard made his enormously clever third feature, A Woman Is a Woman (1961). This big-budget, widescreen extravaganza appeared as the payoff for the unexpected success of Breathless (1959) and the follow-up political scandal of Le Petit soldat (1960), banned for its treatment of France’s Algerian War. A Franco-Italian co-production, shot in color and CinemaScope and starring Godard’s soon-to-be wife Anna Karina, A Woman Is a Woman was, he would say, his “first real film.” Although often described as a musical, A Woman Is a Woman is, despite its moments of singing and dancing, something else. The filmmaker called it “the idea of a musical,” “nostalgia for the musical,” and, most provocatively, a “neorealist musical.” For the first time, Godard was making a movie about its own making.’ — J. Hoberman


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Excerpt

 

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Agnes Varda Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962)
‘There have been many films, from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) to Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark (2002), devoted to the challenge of capturing or reconstituting the experience of “real time.” Agnès Varda’s 1961 Cléo from 5 to 7—an account of an hour and a half in the life of a normally carefree young woman who is gravely awaiting a medical diagnosis—is one of them, but it dispenses with the single-camera-take concept that Hitchcock cleverly faked (and that Sokurov would heroically maintain); it is as jazzily photographed and busily edited as any more conventional narrative film. Rather, Varda seizes the kind of immediacy and tension associated, at the start of the sixties, with the cinema verité documentary movement and uses it to create a new form of fiction. Unlike traditional story films, which skip everywhere in both time and space, Varda gives us a gauntlet: every second piling up, every step traced out. And she picked the best possible site for this gauntlet walk: the Left Bank of Paris is preserved for us in all its early sixties vibrancy and diversity. Indeed, Varda once described the film as “the portrait of a woman painted onto a documentary about Paris.”’ — Adrian Martin


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Excerpt

 

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Jean Luc-Godard Vivre sa vie (1962)
Vivre sa vie presents 12 episodes in the life of a young woman who turns to prostitution to pay her rent. Each episode features a theatrical scene preceded by a title that lists the characters in the episode, its location, and a brief summary of the action. As he would throughout his career, director Jean-Luc Godard uses prostitution as a metaphor for both economic life in general and the position of the filmmaker under capitalism. Vivre sa vie stars Anna Karina, who was married to Godard at the time. Her performance was largely improvised as Godard refused to give Karina her lines until just before each scene was shot. In order to maintain the freshness of the performances, Godard rarely made more than one take of each shot. The film is shot in stunning black-and-white by Raoul Coutard. The improvised acting and fragmented story give the viewer the impression of watching a documentary about a woman’s life that is also a series of essays about aesthetics and economics. In addition, the film’s camera style presents a catalogue of alternatives to conventional shooting strategies.’ — Rovi


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Excerpt

 

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Jean-Luc Godard Bande à part (1964)
Bande à part  is a movie with a main motion—not of a noir or a policier, but a love story. Like so many Godard films, it’s a love story with a bullet in it. And like the most fiercely involved romances, it’s a map of difficult frontiers: between big city and still-rustic suburbs, prewar singularity and the masses of mass culture, between natural light and the color of money. Characters meet, notes the director, “at the crossroads of the unusual and the ordinary.” An encyclopedic litterateur, Godard recalls the sublime phrase of proto-Surrealist Raymond Roussel, envisioning the art of the new century as “the marriage of the beautiful and the trivial.” That might describe all of Godard; certainly all the film’s characters. Still, beyond the vexed romance of Arthur, Odile, and Franz, there is a more encompassing love story. Shot by Raoul Coutard in a filtered black and white that renders the Bastille neighborhood flat and workaday, the suburban landscape charged and ghostly, Band of Outsiders is more than anything a melancholy love letter to Paris and to time.’ — Joshua Clover


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Roger Vadim La Ronde (1964)
‘This uneven remake of the 1950 Max Ophuls feature from the play by Arthur Schnitzler takes place in Paris just before World War I instead of Vienna at the turn of the 20th century. A soldier (Claude Giraud) sleeps with a prostitute (Marie Dubois) before he seduces Rose (Anna Karina), and a willing but married Sophie (Jane Fonda). A night of drinking finds the soldier back with the prostitute again in this feature directed by Roger Vadim.’ — Dan Pavlides, Rovi


the entirety

 

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Jean-Luc Godard Alphaville (1965)
Alphaville is science fiction without special effects. Godard couldn’t afford them in 1965 or ever, but he probably wouldn’t have wanted them even if he’d had unlimited financing. His whole theme, imagination versus logic, is consistent with his deployment of Paris as it was in the ’60s—or at least, those portions of Paris which struck Godard as architectural nightmares of impersonality. Sub-Nabokovian jokes on brand names abound. There is much talk of societies in other galaxies, but their only manifestation is the Ford Galaxy that Eddie Constantine’s Lemmy Caution (a low-rent French version of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe) moves about in. Most of Alphaville is nocturnal or claustrophobically indoors. Yet there is an exhilarating release in many of the images and camera movements because of Godard’s uncanny ability to evoke privileged moments from many movies of the past.’ — Andrew Sarris


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Jean-Luc Godard Pierrot le fou (1965)
Pierrot le fou (1965) is Jean-Luc Godard’s sixth film staring Anna Karina, his first wife. It is the story of Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Marianne (Karina). They meet when Ferdinand’s wife hires Marianne as a baby-sitter. As he drives Marianne home, Ferdinand decides to run away with her. The couple get caught up in a mysterious gun-running scheme involving Marianne’s brother (Dirk Sanders). With Pierrot le fou Godard returns to the story of A bout de souffle (Breathless): the tale of a couple on the run. But in the six years between the two films Godard developed a more complex and often difficult style. Pierrot le fou incorporates musical numbers, references to the history of cinema and painting, and quotations from literature. The film features Godard’s most extended use of color to that point, as the shots are filled with blocks of bright primary colors. Pierrot le fou is a catalogue of cinematic inventions and of gestures made by couples in love.’ — Rovi


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Jacques Rivette La Religieuse (1966)
‘Jacques Rivette’s La Religieuse (The Nun), 1966 is the adaptation of Denis Diderot’s novel (1760). The movie tells a harrowing and simple story of 16 year old Suzanne Simonin (played by incredible Anna Karina), who is forced by her mother to enter a convent where she undergoes a lot of suffering including beatings, humiliations, semi-starvation, lesbian attentions from the Mother Superior (charming Liselotte Pulver of Das Wirtshaus im Spessart) and attempted rape by a priest. Made by the acclaimed New Wave director, The Nun feels more like a traditional (in the best meaning of this word) film, linear, poetic, moving, and very sad. Even before the film was completed and shown to the viewers, the association of former nuns and the parents of students in “free” schools demanded a banning order. This film was met with great controversy upon its release and was banned despite initial approval. Ironically, the scandal had benefited to the increased interest for the novel – many copies of Diderot’s book were sold following the banning of the movie. Despite its controversy, the movie is not so much a criticism of the Catholic Church but more a condemnation of the society in which a woman had only two choices allowed by her family – marriage or the convent.’ — IMDb


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Pierre Koralnik Anna (1967)
‘The charismatic singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg was Karina’s next collaborator on a TV musical entitled Anna, which he wrote especially for her. The film, which included the hits, Sous le soleil exactement and Roller Girl, both sung by Karina, has since become a cult favourite.’ — newwavefilm.com


Trailer


Anna Karina présente Anna

 

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Luchino Visconti The Stranger (1967)
‘In an atmosphere of political tension when the French still control Algiers, an Algerian is killed on the beach and a French man who has lived in Algiers all his life is arrested for the murder. A trial takes place. One of the witnesses was at the funeral of Arthur Meursault’s mother. It bothers other mourners and Mersault himself that he showed no emotion when his mother died. His eventful day at the beach takes place a short time after the funeral when he is examining what his life has been and what path should he take in the future.’ — IMDb


Excerpt

 

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George Cukor Justine (1969)
Justine (1969) is a drama film directed by George Cukor and Joseph Strick. It was written by Lawrence B. Marcus and Andrew Sarris, based on the 1957 novel Justine by Lawrence Durrell. Set in Alexandria in 1938, a young British schoolmaster named Darley meets Pursewarden, a British consular officer. Pursewarden introduces him to Justine, the wife of an Egyptian banker. Darley befriends her, and discovers she is involved in a plot against the British, the goal of which is to arm the Jewish underground movement in Palestine. The plot fails, Justine is sent to jail, and Darley returns to England.’ — Wiki


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Volker Schlöndorff Michael Kohlhaas – Der Rebell (1969)
‘This is another of those films from the 1960’s that have apparently disappeared into the black hole that ought to have been reserved for some of the big-budget trash being made nowadays. It harks back to an era when halfway intelligent scripting and depth of characterization were deemed more important than brain-curdling eye candy and mindless special effects. And although not exactly what I would call a classic, it is nonetheless worthy of remembrance, at least among those of us elderly enough to remember it. Although fairly faithful to its original sources, the film does have a tendency to portray the character as a revolutionary, and at times even as a bit of a patriot and folk hero, rather than as the mere vengeful victim of injustice and local rabble-rouser that the real Kohlhase probably was. Nonetheless, the essential point of the story is not lost.’ — collaged


Excerpt

 

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André Delvaux Rendez-vous à Bray (1971)
‘Set in France in 1917, this film is about non-combatant pianist Julien (Mathieu Carriere) and the numerous efforts of his friend Jacques (Roger Van Hool), a military flier, to come to his aid, both in terms of finding concert opportunities and in arranging romantic assignations. At the film’s opening, Julien has received a telegram inviting him to visit Jacques at his country estate. When he arrives, Jacques is absent, but Julien manages to take the servant girl to bed with him. He leaves without ever seeing Jacques. On another occasion, Jacques arranges an opportunity for Julien to play at a rich man’s dinner party, an offer that Julien turns down.’ — Clarke Fountain, Rovi


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Excerpt

 

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Rainer Werner Fassbinder Chinese Roulette (1976)
Chinese Roulette was Fassbinder’s first international co-production and his most expensive film up to that point. It was shot during seven weeks between April and June 1976. The location for the country house where the story takes places was actually a small castle at Stockach in Unterfranken that belonged to Fassbinder’s cinematographer, Michael Ballhaus. The cast is formed by actors from Fassbinder’s regular troupe: Margit Carstensen, Brigitte Mira, Volker Spengler and Ulli Lommel. Being a French co-production Fassbinder used two French stars: Anna Karina and Macha Méril, both of whom had earlier appeared in the films of Jean-Luc Godard. Fassbinder added another German actor, Alexander Allerson. A sophisticated and stylish cinematic physiological game, Chinese Roulette was coldly received in West Germany. Criticism centered on the cold intellectualism of the film. American critic Andrew Sarris devoted an entire university course to the analysis of Chinese Roulette.’ — collaged


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Raoul Ruiz Treasure Island (1985)
‘Pretty kooky meta-adaptation of Treasure Island from Ruiz. It’s a shame that this one suffered from production issues as there’s a probable masterpiece in the four hour version that Ruiz wanted to create; one can see even from the two hours at hand that there’s a hell of a lot of story to work with here, and with a cast this great (Martin Landau, Lou Castel, Anna Karina, Jean-Pierre Léaud!) it’s easy to see that we’re missing out on something big. But anyway, there are plenty of things to love in this: Ruiz’s penchant for split diopters and painting faces in frame as if they were landscapes and, of course, the usual oneiric use of space and dimension to turn each scene into some sort of formal abstraction. It’s certainly a good addition to the Ruiz canon even if this wild story of doubles is not what it could’ve been.’ — Redfern


Excerpt


the entire film

 

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Jacques Rivette Haut Bas Fragile (1995)
‘Jacques Rivette’s leisurely musical fantasy Up-Down-Fragile is not a movie to quicken the pulse of those who like their cinema taut and action-packed. This quirky semi-improvised homage to old-time MGM musicals sprawls over nearly three hours, and not much really happens. If Up-Down-Fragile captures the jaunty pie-in-the-sky spirit of American movie musicals, it steers clear of pat Hollywood formulas. Boy may meet girl, but little that happens afterward points the way to an ending that is either happy or unhappy. What Mr. Rivette has concocted might be described as a lighthearted existential romp in which life is a playful dialogue between reality and fantasy, between musical comedy and drama, and you never know when one will turn into the other.’ — Stephen Holden, NYT


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Jonathan Demme The Truth about Charlie (2002)
The Truth About Charlie is a 2002 remake of the 1963 classic film Charade. It is also an homage to François Truffaut’s 1960 film Shoot the Piano Player complete with that film’s star, Charles Aznavour, making two surreal appearances singing his song “Quand tu m’aimes” (first in French, later in English). This version closely mirrors the plotline of the original film. It is once again set in Paris and features several famous French actors. Director Agnès Varda makes a cameo appearance. Actress/Chanteuse Anna Karina sings a Serge Gainsbourg song in one scene. The film received a mixed reception from critics and was a flop at the box office, bringing only $7 million worldwide.’ — collaged


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p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I don’t know who Mickey Katz is. But Sartre, I do know, and that linked piece looks interesting, thank you. ** Robert Siek, Hi, pal. Yeah, I know. There are so many ways to guess. Burroughs was being kind, i.e. the autograph requester told him her/his son was a prick. Or that her/his son hated Burroughs work or … ? Or, yeah, the signature was intended for the son and Burroughs was being funny/ironic in a knowing way? Or the autograph seeker’s son was standing next to the autograph seeker ad Burroughs wanted to screw him? I try not to imagine the inevitable explosive death of the earth because books will be the first things to burn up. Yes, do get the Ed Smith book. His work is wonderful, and David did a superb job with the book itself, and it’s a pleasure of thing in general. Nice to see you, and thanks for sparing a bit of your lunch break. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hey. Ha, nice, the Irvine Welsh signature. Is that legal? Yeah, man, The Call is looking awfully, awfully good! ** Bernard, Hi, B. Well, you could reassign the time you spend on one of your daily meals or bathroom usages to visiting? Perhaps not. Anyway, always a pleasure, duh. I did not see ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ If it has opened here, which I don’t think it has, it undoubtedly had a radically different French title, so … But I will seek it out. I would say flashing red lights on that poetry effort, although there are those rare great poetry writers/thinkers who pooh-pooh John. Although they’re pretty tiresome too. Ha ha. I want to see that Disney documentary, cool, will do. Sounds like you’re spending your time wisely. Big up. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Oh, no, another Godard film, whatever it may be, is better than Godard ending on the perfect note. I don’t believe whatever film he makes will be straightforward, although it’s not like he hasn’t been almost painfully straightforward at times. But I’m guessing a found footage reorganisation and technical distorting type of thing? Two reviews! Everyone, Mighty Steve Erickson has tackled two new things with his brain. The first thing is Penny Lane’s film ‘Hail Satan?’, and the second is that documentary about Steve Bannon aka ‘The Brink’. Please wed yourself to them. Oh, Bret and I aren’t best friends or anything. And I imagine he’s already gotten pretty used to people piling on his new book. So, fire away. ** PreareforKeato, Nice, head-scratcher, nice. I had sex one time with a boy who’d tattooed, in gigantic black letters, the name of his older brother who had died of AIDS on his stomach. That was quite the mood alterer. ** chris dankland, Hi, Chris! I’m loving those new image/text pieces you’ve been posting on FB. Beautiful work! Um, yeah, I do have some very prized autographed books. But I’m blanking. Robbe-Grillet signed/wrote a very cool, flattering thing in my copy of one of his tomes. As did Ashbery in another. And others that I’m blanking on because they’re in LA where my mind can’t astral project sadly. Thank for the Zac German links! I’m always excited to see whatever he’s up to. I’m very slowly reading Megan Boyle’s book too, and thoroughly enjoying it. Oh, well, that book about me is a ‘critical biography’, it’s called. I had mistakenly thought that it was going to be a biography of me, I guess because that word popped out, but it turns out it’s more of an analytical overview of my work from start to current finish, and it doesn’t seem as though my actual life is going to be covered or have much of anything to do with it. I think it’s being written right now. I think it’s supposed to be finished later this year, I’m not sure? I haven’t talked to Diarmuid, who’s writing it, in a while. Weirdly, I think I would be kind of excited if someone ever wanted to write an actual biography of me, maybe partly because I have zero interest in writing a memoir or autobiography or anything like that. Objectivity is interesting. Great seeing you, Chris! You have a molten great Friday! ** Kyler, Hi, K. Yes, I think you did tell me that about your brother-in-law. I remember being excited about that, and I still am. Yep, about Bresson. ‘A Man Escaped’ is one of (many) big faves! Cool, man. Enjoy your day. ** Okay. Today I ask you to devote your time to the work of the wonderful French actor Anna Karina. Pleasure awaits you, should you so choose. See you tomorrow.

12 Comments

  1. magnificent. my all time fave screen goddess… and what a voice xxxxxxx

  2. Very Cool Anna Karina day. A number of years back she was supposed to come to.A. for an event, but it got cancelled because of the eruption of that volcano in Iceland which spread all sorts of things through the air that made travel impossible. So we did a phone interview.
    Anna Karina is one of those people who taught me what the cinema was all about in that like Julie Christie one could watch her doing literally anything and it would make a movie. The ups and downs of her tumultuous relationship with Godard are of course part of cinematic legend. Rivette’s “L’Amour Fou” restages their tumultuous break-up where they locked themselves up in their apartment and exhausted one another in a kind of orgy of love and hate. I adore the Serge Gainsbourg/ Pierre Koralnick “Anna” which captures things bout her that Godard never did.

    Mickey Katz is Joel Grey’s real name.

    So good you’ve found a link to “Treasure Island” The first time I met Raul Ruiz was here in L.A. when he’d come to town to talk wit Cannon about getting it released.

  3. So today is a pretty good example of why I can’t fit the blog into the time I’d save skipping a bathroom break (setting aside the likely dire consequences to my . . . system). I went down a Godard rabbithole for a bit. I still consider myself a film-studies person, and I’m still annoyed at how many critical poohbahs go on and on about postmodernism in the visual arts and lit without giving a thought to Godard and oh, you know, any film. I’ve always had some trouble recognizing Karina: maybe it’s weird that I don’t see her as having a distinctive face, like Jeanne Moreau or Stéphane Audran, that makes me want to wallow in a movie. I thought The Truth About Charlie was a pretty bad movie, but maybe I really didn’t get what it was up to; maybe it was an elaborate allusive artifice I wasn’t tuned into. Hmmmm . . . However, I should admit my error and pledge allegiance to the blog and head to the re-education camp where I will diligently study the lives of great escorts and slaves . . .
    I don’t think Diarmuid would mind my saying that his book is well on its way to publication and does cite details of your life story as context for the work; as well as a lot of contemporary social history and theory. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t check in that much because he doesn’t want to barge in. He’s doing great things. I am hoping to visit him in Cambridge after Paris this summer. BTW Arthur and I are going to Berlin mid-June and I’ve never been so I will probably be looking for info; maybe relying on Bill H?
    I am utterly dazzled to see that This is How You Will Disappear is booked at the Théâtre du Châtelet.
    Maybe I didn’t mention that in NYC I got to see the “Young and Evil” show at Zwirner with work by Pavel Tchelitchew, Paul Cadmus, Jared French, George Platt Lynes etc, including the racy stuff you never get to see; then the Lincoln Kirstein show at MOMA, also very cool and inspiring.
    Though I defer to the master, David E, on all matters involving starts and performers: Joel Grey was born Joel Katz (I just saw the Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish that he directed; it’s fantastic and his cast adores him). Mickey Katz was his father. We had his records, which I’m sure had a huge effect on my sense of humor. He was a great jazz clarinetist with klezmer foundation; he was with Spike Jones (not Jonze) for a while; and specialized in these over-the-top renditions of cultural assimilation that were considered really distasteful at the time, but that I think were kind of profound. Usually a collision of schlocky Yiddish stuff with schlocky mainstream US stuff. (There: What would we do without Yiddish to tell us what schlock is?) He did a recording of “Home on the Range” in Yiddish that still makes me laugh to think of it. His comedy was “too Jewish” for a lot of people, and it certainly was cheap: I think the title that says it all is “The Barber of Schlemiel.” Anyway, he believed in Yiddish language and culture at a time when a lot of people thought the defense against Nazism was to blend into Anglo-Saxon America, and that’s a living issue for every ethnic group that arrives here, particularly if they come as refugees. By the way, what’s happening here is horrible, shameful, disgusting, demoralizing, every single day. I am studying traditional magic just so i can put effective curses on certain people’s heads. I don’t go out very much: it’s too bad; living so near DC I ought to be running into someone whose face I can spit in.

  4. PS I think the documentary I mentioned is “The Boys: The Sherman Brothers.” Don’t know if it’s that great, but I knew next to nothing about them or the songs, so I found it interesting.

  5. One of my friends the other day told me that in 30 years of working with AIDS, he’s never met a top that got it. I just pretend everyone has space-cooties, cos they all act like they’re from Mars. I seriously think one of my tattoo artists does Heavy D TftC tattoos. I feel like a little Emo girl when I watch her. Never really took to women in film. I like her a lot. Off to drink my Burroughses and hope to find depraved sluts other than my friends hehe. Oh, me and the novel are having a stern talk. I’m “coaching” it. It’s been playing football, but it’s a baseball game.

  6. Here’s my review of Hong Sang-soo’s GRASS: https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/8/grass-film-2019-04-11-gcn.html

    I didn’t know that scene in L’AMOUR FOU was based on one of Karina and Godard’s arguments. At the time I saw the film, I assumed the razor-blade slashing was simulated with a prop and fake blood and later learned it was real. Ouch!

  7. When I see Anna Karina’s look I always think back to the ladies of Glasgow Art School circa 2000, maybe because they too all seemed so similarly chic and beautiful, and maybe also because her particular hair and makeup launched entire generations of youth culture.

    I’ve been in touch with this cool-seeming Scottish literary horror zine called Blood Bath that may well be up for some sort of collaborative fun and games with The Call. Turns out there’s a multitude of folk doing interesting things if you only look what might be out there.

  8. Hello Mr Cooper !
    Thanks for answering all my questions! It still blows my mind that you take time to write back to everyone who comments.
    Too bad about that memoir, I’d love to know what Burroughs was like in real life. I only know him as this legendary author so it could be very interesting to see him from a completely different perspective. But at the same time, I see how publishing a memoir like that could be pretty risque.

    Regarding the translation of ‘The Marbled Swarm’, I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that translators struggle with this book. I reread it recently specifically focusing on how it could be translated. I’m fairly certain it is possible, but it would have to be a passion project. It would be necessary to untangle the mystery and all of the deception – deconstruct it and map out the story and only then actually translate it. But it could be a really cool challenge, I think.
    This novel is so extraordinary and I wish it could be appreciated by more people. Btw. I was so surprised (touched and embarrassed) by the fact that you created a character who was emo and loved anime, because i was just that for a few of my teenage years. He was so vulnerable and authentic, you did an amazing job capturing the vibe of this subculture.
    By the way, I saw that only one of your novels was translated into Polish (predictably, it’s ‘Frisk’) and DAMN, the blurb on the cover is…really something :0 It was published in 1995, the blurb says ‘An INCREDIBLY controversial novel by a young American, an author of three books which received awards, praise, and contempt. ONLY FOR ADULT READERS !!!’ I found it reaaaally funny for some reason. I don’t know if you’ve seen it but I thought it could be interesting for you.

    Too bad about Poznań, I hoped it would be a discussion panel or something similar.

    As for myself, I’m currently writing my MA thesis in American Lit, slowly working on application for Ph.D. programme next year, and desperately trying not to give in and take up a boring ass office job in which I’d be stuck for eternity 🙁 Aside for that, I don’t really ‘do’ much, rather read about things I wish I was doing which, I guess, comes as no surprise. I am, after all, a Millenial™ ;((((

    Best wishes,

  9. Dennis,

    I’m pretty ignorant of Anna Karina’s ouevre, aside from a couple Godard films, so this post was enlightening. Finished My Loose Thread today, and think I enjoyed it even more than Period. I envy the way you thread static characters into the work, like the parents, so subtly without them feeling any less essential and also not overwritten into the narrative. They just ghost certain moments/emotions? That’s hard for me.

    Reading Killian’s Tony Greene Era and it feels definitely unique among a lot of the poetry I’ve read recently. Really enjoying it.

    I got an acceptance letter for a poem from decomP magazine today! I’ll let you know when the issue drops.

    xo.
    Douglas

  10. I know you don’t like political ranting, but the events in America over the past week have made me feel like the country’s hurtling towards an abyss and no one, including myself, is doing much with their anger except posting on Twitter.
    It’s incredibly clear that the Trump administration is in league with Fox News and other Murdoch-owned media to suppress dissent through intimidation of journalists and politicians who don’t tow the line and that this is likely to end in violence, probably the murder of Ilhan Omar. It feels to me like a massive line was crossed with yesterday’s NY Post cover slandering her, but did anything happen in response except some outraged social media posts? I know that some Muslim-Americana-owned bodegas and delis are going to stop selling the Post, and that’s a great start, but have you heard of any protests in their offices? From reading the tweets of Talia Levin, Luke O’ Neil and other journalists, I know that the price of getting attacked on Fox is doxing and being deluged with death threats, to the point where Levin’s NYU class needs police protection. The atmosphere in the US has become so conformist that even panning an MCU movie leads to death threats, although I doubt there’s any likelihood they’ll be carried out. The end game of this is going to be a return of the assassinations of the ’60s or, probably, some form of “soft” government censorship. I feel like we’ve been watching this develop in a slow motion crescendo since Trump’s campaign in 2016, and I don’t know what can stop it. I’m sure nothing I’m saying is news to you or the people reading this, but the water’s getting hotter and hotter and it doesn’t feel like there’s an easy way back from this. Even if Bernie Sanders is elected president and Democrats take the House and Senate in 2020, the right-wing media and the pseudo-populist base that support fascist authoritarianism are going nowhere and the “political correctness is the greatest danger to America, so let’s trigger the libs and be proud of being bullies and assholes” attitude that rules the current conservative mindset makes real dialogue and debate impossible.

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