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 Godard, one of pioneers of French New Wave. Her notable collaborations with Godard include The Little Soldier (1960), A Woman Is a Woman (1961) and Vivre sa vie (1962). With A Woman Is a Woman, Karina won the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival.

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Parisian Female Smoking: Anna Karina in “Vivre Sa Vie” directed by Jean-Luc Godard in 1962.

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Graham Fuller: How did you and Jean-Luc get together?

Anna Karina: 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.

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Jean-Luc Godard, Le Petit Soldat, 1963.


Jean-Luc Godard, Le Petit Soldat, 1963.

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breakfastineurope: Anna Karina on the set of Le Petit Soldat, 1963


breakfastineurope: Anna Karina on the set of Le Petit Soldat, 1963

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