For my visual narrative project, I wanted to focus on stills from the French New Wave films of Jean-Luc Godard, which specifically include his muse Anna Karina. I adore the aesthetic look of the 1960s cinematography, and the dreamy feel that Godard captivates through Anna Karina’s different personas from film to film. I took a multitude of various screenshots from four of his most iconic films: Une Femme Est Une Femme (A Woman Is a Woman, 1961), Vivre Sa Vie (My Life to Live, 1962), La Petit Soldat (The Little Soldier, 1963), and Alphaville (1965). I mainly focused on close ups of Anna Karina as well as her relationships with men, which I thought was visually appealing as well as emotionally captivating as a viewer. In every film, she always has a love affair with one man, interactions with multiple men, or can not decide between men, so I knew I wanted love to be a theme in my own portrayal of Anna Karina’s story. In most of Jean-Luc Godard films, a male character plays the main role which somewhat overshadows Anna Karina’s role, so I wanted to change that depiction by manipulating the scenes into a new female point of view. As I accumulated small scenes from each film, I began to see a similar rhythm or connection between stills. In many of the clips, she was either waiting, smoking, getting ready, or showing affection towards a man. So, I organized the stills into a new storyline that depicted her character in a way that I felt progressively transitioned from scene to scene while capturing the essence of her changing emotions. It begins with a series of stills that shows Anna Karina waking up, turning on music, getting dressed, dancing around, etc. which is the introduction. Then, the rising action begins when she makes or receives the phone call (it is up to you to interpret it the way you want), and begins to briefly wait. She then rides her bike into the city to meet the person on the other line of the mysterious phone call. Once she gets there, they dance and make love, but she begins to cry. Once again, it is up to you to interpret what has caused her to tears; they may be tears of joy or sadness. After this, I felt the visual narrative needed an interesting twist, so I reversed her entire day in a faster sequence than before. I wanted it to be like as she was crying she was reflecting on the day. It literally is a mirror effect that is occurring, which is like her own self looking at her day gradually unfold before her crying eyes. For the audio, I knew that I wanted to use French music to go along with the French New Wave theme, so I chose Playground Love (Vibraphone Version) by Air which has no lyrics. I wanted the feel of the music to interact with the visuals in a way that enhanced the meaning but did not distract the viewer from the actual story being conveyed. For the title of my project, I used just the Féminin part of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1966 film Masculin Féminin because I felt that it described the delicacy and vulnerability of the narrative.
Click here for my process