Anna Karina (born
Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer on 22 September 1940) is
a Danish film actress, director, and screenwriter.
Karina is known as a muse
of the French director, Jean-Luc
, one of pioneers of French
. Her notable collaborations with Godard include
The Little Soldier
(1960), A Woman Is a
(1961) and Vivre sa
(1962). It has been rumored she co-directed most of
Godard's films in this era. With A Woman Is a Woman
Karina won the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival
Karina's mother was a dress shop owner and her father a ship's
captain. Before Karina turned one, her father had left her mother.
After being raised by her maternal grandparents, where she stayed
until the age of four, she spent time in and out of foster homes,
before returning to live with her mother from the age of eight. She
has described her childhood as "terribly wanting to be loved" and
made numerous attempts as a child to run away from home.
her career in Denmark, where she
sang in cabarets and worked as a model playing in
commercials. At age 14, she appeared in a Danish short
film by Ib Schedes which won a prize at
She studied dance and painting in Denmark
and for a while made a living selling her paintings. In 1958, after a row with her mother, she hitch-hiked to
Modelling and meeting with Godard
Karin Bayer came to Paris in 1958 at
She spoke no French and had no money, living off the
streets. However, she had a break when, sitting
briefly at the cafe Les Deux Magots, she was approached by a woman from an
advertisement agency who asked her to do some photos.
became a successful fashion model, meeting Pierre Cardin
. Chanel helped her devise her professional name
, Anna Karina.
Karina's first film appearance, although unauthorized, dates from
1959, when a soap advertisement in which she appeared as a model
was included near the end of Guy Debord
On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of
. The image was accompanied by Debord's voice-over
"The advertisements during intermissions are the truest reflection
of an intermission from life."
, then a film critic
for Cahiers du
, first saw Karina in series of Palmolive
ads in a bath covered in
soapsuds. Godard was casting his debut feature film, À bout de souffle
. He offered
her a small role, 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." In the event, the character Godard reserved for her did
not appear in the film.
The next year, however, Godard contacted her again to offer her a
role in Le Petit Soldat
(1960). Karina, who was still under 21 had to persuade her
estranged mother to sign the contract for her.
Karina was awarded best actress at the Berlin Film Festival
in 1961 for her
interpretation of the character Angela in the film Une femme est une femme
acting career was not, however, limited to Godard's films, and she
went on to a successful collaboration with other well-known
directors. Her role in Suzanne Simonin, la
Religieuse de Diderot
(1967) directed by Jacques Rivette
is considered by some as her
best performance. She also acted in Luchino Visconti
Other notable films include: George
(1969), Tony Richardson
's Laughter in the
(1969), Christian de
(1970), Andre Delvaux
's Rendezvous a Bray
(1971), The Salzburg Connection
(1972), Franco Brusati
's Bread and Chocolate
(1973) and Rainer Werner
's Chinese Roulette
(1976). In 1972 set up a
production company named Raska for her film-directing debut
, in which she also acted and which was
released in 1973. She wrote and acted in Last Song
in 1987. She has since appeared in
Haut, Bas, Fragile
(1995) by Jacques Rivette
in The Truth About
Karina has also appeared on stage, in Rivette's adaptation of
, Pour Lucrece
, Toi et Tes
, Francoise Sagan
Il Fait Beau Jour et Nuit
and Ingmar Bergman
's Apres La
Karina has also maintained an important singing career. At the end
of the 1960s, she scored a major hit with "Sous le soleil exactement
" by Serge Gainsbourg
, both songs taken from the
TV musical comedy Anna
(1967) by the film director
in which she sings seven songs alongside
Gainsbourg and Jean-Claude
. She subsequently recorded an album Une histoire d'amour
with Philippe Katerine
, which was followed up
by a concert tour. Karina has also written three novels and made
several appearances on television. In 2005 she released
Chansons de films
, a collection of songs sung in
wrote, directed and starred in Victoria, a musical road
movie filmed in Montreal, Quebec and Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean in 2007.
The movie was premiered at the Pusan Film Festival in Korea in
2008. An early review by Richard Kuipers in Variety praised it as
"a pleasant gambol through the backwoods of Quebec...Given plenty
of room to work off each other, the members of this fine ensemble
keep pic on track...Big plus is the music and heartfelt songs by
Philippe Katerine". "Victoria" is under consideration for the
Tribeca Film Festival in NYC in April.
Godard and Karina married on 3 March 1961, during the shooting of
Une femme est une
, and divorced in 1967. After Godard, she was married
thrice more: to scriptwriter-actor Pierre
(1968–1973), actor-director Daniel Duval
(1978–1981) and director Dennis Berry
- Anna Karenina Variety
- Cowie, Peter (2005) Revolution!: The Explosion of World Cinema in the
Sixties Macmillan, p. 62 ISBN 0571211356
- Anna Karina." Encyclopædia Britannica.
retrieved on 25 Jun. 2009
- Colin MacCabe, Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at
Seventy. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003). p.
- MacCabe, 126.
- MacCabe, 126-7.
- MacCabe, 127.
- MacCabe, 124-5.
- MacCabe, 127-8.