MIFF09 report: Laura Mulvey probably wouldn’t have enjoyed ‘Anna Karina – In Conversation’

anna karina

Post by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

A friend once remarked to me that, whenever he sees an advertisement for MIFF, he accidentally misreads it as ‘MILF.’ Upon entering the Festival Lounge for the conversation with Anna Karina today, one could have been forgiven for thinking that David Stratton, her interviewer, and many members of the audience had made a similar error. A weird, not terribly satisfactory, and occasionally rather sexist event, the conversation with Ms. Karina offered her a kind of adoration, but an adoration so totally defined by an understanding of her as ‘muse’ to a series of great men – Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Serge Gainsbourg – that there wasn’t much for her to do besides tell some stories about these great men as the private individuals she knew. Ms. Karina was and still is a very charming woman, but with her limited English she wasn’t able to steer the conversation in more interesting directions, even on the rare occasions – in fact, there was only one, when a young woman in the audience asked her to talk about maintaining a sense of her own femininity in her (private and public) relationships with these men – at which the opportunity arose. Most of the time it was a kind of cozy lovefest, the weird thing being that the objects of this love were not entirely present: on the one hand, the various men Karina worked with in the early part of her career, who constituted the real interest for Stratton and much of the audience; and on the other, Karina’s younger self. Sadly, she couldn’t make it, and given the suffocatingly adoring atmosphere of this event, the Anna Karina of today didn’t have much of an opportunity to showcase the intelligence, the liveliness always tempered by a twinge of resignation, for which we all love her work. Just once did a flash of this come across, when she remarked, in a manner that indicated a simultaneous sense of excited recollection and slight sadness, that her relationship with Godard had been a lot like Shaw’s Pygmalion. Then everybody laughed, and moved onto another question about “Who was the best director you worked with and why?”

1 Comment

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One response to “MIFF09 report: Laura Mulvey probably wouldn’t have enjoyed ‘Anna Karina – In Conversation’

  1. I also felt uncomfortable with the talk about being muse; I found it demeaning.

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