The 47th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF47) will pay tribute to the late French New Wave giant Jean-Luc Godard with an eight-film programme featuring his muse and ex-wife, Anna Karina.
It preludes the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society’s celebration of Godard’s work this year. The retrospective will continue beyond HKIFF47 with Cine Fan’s May/June/July edition, showcasing more films by the iconic French-Swiss filmmaker, who passed away last September at 91.
Born in Paris in 1930, Godard began his lifelong love affair with cinema as a critic, advocating a new movement that sprang from an auteur’s personality and predilections. He stunned the world with Breathless, his feature debut as a director, through unconventional camerawork, disjointed editing style, and a penchant for radical political views. By winning an unprecedented Special Palme d’Or with The Image Book at Cannes in 2018, Godard completed his far-reaching legacy with his final provocative collage film essay.
While Godard was a trailblazer, Anna Karina was undoubtedly the face of the French New Wave. The distinctive aura of the Danish-French actress was the core attraction of their first collaboration, The Little Soldier. The couple got married and soon became one of the most celebrated director-and-star tandems, lighting up the screen with their intimacy in a series of stylish and successful collaborations. They include A Woman is a Woman, with which Karina won Best Actress at Berlinale, and My Life to Live, which brought Godard Venice’s Special Jury Prize.
Their chemistry and fundamental incompatibility constituted significant dynamics in Band of Outsiders, Godard’s radically reimagined gangster film, which showcased Karina as an object of desire in a ménage à trois of crime. In Alphaville, Godard used the imaginative power of cinema to challenge technocracy and totalitarianism. Triumphantly, the dystopic sci-fi noir won him a Golden Bear at Berlinale. Pierrot le fou mirrors the couple’s increasingly tumultuous relationship. However, the film’s irresistible charm is indebted to Karina, playing an unscrupulous floozy who leads her ex-lover Jean-Paul Belmondo to his final ruin.
Chaotic crime thriller Made in U.S.A. marked the final burst of exuberance from Godard’s early sixties barrage of delirious films and his last feature film with Karina. She collaborated with Godard for the last time in Anticipation, one of the six short films comprising The Oldest Profession. Her bleak emotional detachment as a Space Age hooker complements impeccably with his signature jarring use of provocative images.
HKIFF47 will take place from 30 March to 10 April, featuring physical, in-theatre screenings and audience-engagement events alongside a bespoke online programme. HKIFF47 will unveil this year’s complete programme in March.
The Jean-Luc Godard x Anna Karina Retrospective will feature the following eight films:
1961 A Woman is a Woman
1962 My Life to Live
1963 The Little Soldier
1964 Band of Outsiders
1965 Pierrot le fou
1966 Made in U.S.A.
1967 Anticipation (From The Oldest Profession)
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