September 22, 2014
When I think of the name “Anna Karina” it brings up images of her former husband Jean-Luc Godard, but when I see a picture of her, I only think of her. I’m crazy about her. “At the moment everything was being destroyed she had created that which was most difficult: she had not drawn something out of nothing (a meaningless act), but given to nothing, in its form of nothing, the form of something.” I never fully understand the meaning of a beautiful woman as it is defined in words. Do they mean she’s pretty? I’m struck by her character, or maybe the words she says through various writers and directors. I never think of Godard as being beautiful, but when I see Karina in his films, I think she’s “beautiful. ”
“I could not work with a girl who did not have a spiritual quality.” Throughout my life I tried to find my own Anna Karina, but my lack of spirituality held me back to find the happiness that is owed me. The very image of love, I couldn’t really define in words, so it became a sense of nothingness. I needed a name attached to it, to give me some meaning. “Anna Karina” represents a sea of mixed passions that as a fisherman, I have to throw a line out there, and see what bites. I watched her watching Renée Jeanne Falconetti on a movie screen that for me, reflects on attaching an identity to another. To be so vulnerable, and to pick up on another person’s pain, is the precise definition of my unhappiness.
“We can’t do anything with an object that has no name.” But once we attach a name to it, or her, it becomes something painful. I have a faint memory of seeing a film that was 10 hours long called “Greed.” I sat through the whole film at the Cinémathèque Française and I couldn’t move from my fold-up chair as I watched it on the Steenbeck. The images flickered in front of me as I cringed in knowing what will happen to the leading characters. Only 12 people have seen the long version of this film, and if we were on a trial, we would find the film’s director, Erich von Stroheim, not guilty, for destroying his film. If for nothing else, the time melts in front of you, but ironically enough, most people comment how long the film is, without giving merit or praise (deservedly so) to the work on hand. It is now destroyed.
It has been re-constructed into a version that is almost like the 10-hour film, but alas, it is only a mirror image of the work. The exquisite face of ZaSu Pitts still exists, in scenes and stills, but like my memory, it’s fading fast. Anna Karina stays with me, because I presume I know her through the films. Specifically the ones she did with Godard. But again, it is mainly reflected through the eyes of her ex-husband, and therefore is that a ‘realistic’ knowledge of Karina? As a publisher, I want to make a book that is nothing but close-up images of Anna Karina. No text, and not even a title or copyright page. Words fail the image. Just a mass-market designed book that holds the image of the greatest treasure on earth - Anna Karina.