Godard is probably the strangest yet most fascinating of all the New Wave directors. Of all his films, that I have seen I probably only like two of them; however, I believe that there is a great deal to discuss in his films although I do not entirely understand his methods. I did not particularly like "Vivre sa Vie," but I am impressed that Godard actually made a film like this. I believe that this is the most normal looking film I have seen of Godard's. By normal, I mean it has a plot, a beginning, climax, and a conclusion, and it does not play with genre.
Of course, this film is not completely different from all his other films. In "Vivre Sa Vie" we see a return of Godard's famous editing techniques which include jump-cuts. Also, he introduces his audiences to a new camera movement as well. In one scene while Anna Karina, the star of the film, is sitting a a bar, the audience can hear a machine gun firing off screen. The camera pans right to where the noise is coming from, but it does so matching the the sounds of a machine gun. So the pan is rather shaky. I really liked that pan; it was both creative and original. Another cinematic technique of Godards that I found interesting was the silent film sequence which is found near the end of the film. At the beginning of chapter 11, all the audience hears is the soundtrack and they have to read subtitles to discover what the characters are saying. To me, this was Godard's way of experimenting with sound. This sequence added more emotion to the scone for me too since the audience is forced to pay attention to the sad musical theme of this film.
I think the best way to describe this film is "bittersweet." The film's plot is very dark since it tells the story of a woman who resorts to prostitution to make money. It is especially sad when Karina's character dies in the end. This dark plot is weakened with Godard's sets and his portrayal of Paris. Most of Godard's films were shot in Paris however, he never shows Paris for the beautiful city that it is. He especially does this in "Alphaville" and "2 or 3 things I know about Her." In "Vivre sa Vie" the audience gets an almost stereotypical portrayal of Paris with the cafes, Champs Elysee, and the Arc de Triomphe which is shown at the end of the film.
Prostitution is a theme which appears frequently in Godard's films. Until seeing this film, it is not entirely clear if he portrays it negatively or positively. After seeing this film, I believe Godard is trying to show the negative aspects of prostitution especially since Karina dies in the end. Although the men in the film seem to treat Karina nicely, she is ultimately a piece of property for them. This is shown at the end when a men shoots her and leaves her in the street.