The very rarely screened Anna plays tonight, Monday night and next Tuesday night at the Spectacle’s series “How Anna Got Her Groove Back: Karina After Godard.”
It is in part the precariousness of her circumstances as a young artist recently arrived in Paris, a transplanted ingénue in search of a job, a place, a life, a love. It is in part her particularly delicate, moodily puckered, characteristically sassy, perfectly coy handling of her character.
In part, too, it’s her eyeglasses. In part, her amusingly constant translucent raincoat.
It’s also, in part, her nearly slow-motion blinks, and her deep yet weightless sighs.
It’s her dancing about, too. And singing, too—now peppy, now pensive, now breathy, now pop.
Anna Karina, in Anna, is an absolute jewel. And there are more than two or three reasons to see her as such.
In this film produced as the first color feature for French television in 1967, only to then slip into relative obscurity, Karina plays a role so tailor-fit for her that it is also at least partially (auto)biographical. So it’s perhaps no surprise that she’s more charming than ever, that she soars maybe even higher than in the comparable genre pastiche Une femme Est une Femme, an earlier film by Godard in which Karina plays a marvelously singing, dancing, ocularly explosive—those blinks—emotive centerpiece.
Karina, here, is at the pinnacle of everything you’ve always loved about her, so you could see this film solely to indulge in all that is Anna. But the loose narrative, breezily tight cinematography, lush palette and now melancholic, now acceptably saccharine soundtrack are other splendid elements—and other great motives to seek out this unduly overlooked feature.
It’s a musical and a most adorable love story. A fairy tale and a subtle reality check. It’s also a prescient—or at least today rendered especially relevant—take on the variable forces of an ardor born of a fleetingly taken photograph. Should you ever seek out a sort of sweeter source for casual contextualizations of Barthes, Derrida, et. al., well, voilà.
A must-see for Karina fans, of course, Anna is also, as a film, many things. If you’ve ever seen the rather extractive videos for songs like “Sous le soleil exactement” or “Roller Girl,” then you’ve seen the previews.
Go forth now to see it in full. And go with a fellow Karina fan, or bring someone you think should be welcomed into the fold.
Just don’t miss it. It’s here only for a teasingly, ticklingly short time.
Thanks so much, Spectacle, for making this happen.