Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Let's dance





I'll now try to explain to you, why this is probably my favourite scene in the whole history of cinema (ok, one of favourites).

In Godard's Vivre sa vie (To live one's life) Anna Karina plays a girl, who out of some circumstances (breaking up with a dull man, boredom, then lack of financial means or sheer indifference) becomes a prostitute. This shot in a pre-experimental, pre-Marxist, pre-Dziga Viertov Group, more "traditional" style, that has more to do with early Nouvelle Vague style - more or less open form, freedom and improvisation on the plan, lots of plain air, streetlife from Paris. This scene has always seemed to me as autotelic, sort of self evident, without any greater need for explanation - one of the few moments, when Nana can "escape" her existence and devote herself to a "sheer being", without any reasoning (as opposite to the last scene and her conversation with the old man about language and possibilities of self expression), just simply being and dancing as a purposeless act. But of course this is also the last stage, when Nana is concerned with the society, she's not ashamed of putting herself on display, she no longer cares about her position. from this peak moment her existence will become more and more problematic, until her accidental death from the hands of mafia.

The other scene from "Bande a part" is another example of a quite independent, taken out of time, scene in Godard's films. With the reflection on time ("one minute" scene and a commentary on the individual sense of time in cinema), then - an interruption from an autotelic dancing, and then the opening of a narrative with "parentheses", it proves also a sheer cinematic bliss.

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