MIFF review: Anna (1967)

26 Jul

Genre: Romance, new wave.
Dir. Pierre Koralnik
France, 1967

Anna is a fun romp through the masculine world of 1960s Paris. As the title suggests, it was made for, and dedicated to, Anna Karina who is the star of the film. Anna plays Anna, a smart, stylish colourist working in an advertising agency who is lonely for love and dreaming that her prince charming will suddenly appear, declare his undying love and they will live happily ever after. Unfortunately the man of her attentions is madly in love with a photograph of a girl and is searching Paris high and low to find this mysterious muse, aided by a merry band of guys all celebrating their youth by running around Paris taking photos of any young attractive girl that might be ‘her.’

As you would expect, the mystery girl is, in fact, Anna. But because Anna wears glasses (which had fallen off because she stumbled at the moment the original photo was taken), the love-lorn young man doesn’t recognise that it’s her in the picture – even though she works for him and he sees her every day. So, as Michelle Carey (MIFF Senior Programmer) so pertinently asked after the film, is the director, Pierre Koralnik, saying that guys don’t look at girls with glasses? Well, Anna Karina herself, in response to this question said No! He’s saying that sometimes what you’re looking for is right under your nose but you fail to recognise it and therefore miss out on potentially wonderful opportunities. Maybe. That is what happens. However, looked at from a different angle (maybe through Michelle’s glasses), the whole film is a play off between a girl and her image in which the image is a stunning picture of pure unattainable beauty and is worshipped by every man in sight, while the girl is almost invisible in her funky specs, and just dying to be noticed. The film is full of billboard images of Anna’s face, they work in an advertising agency, and all the guys run around with cameras the whole time. It’s image-creation saturation. And, while not overtly, the film does highlight a certain obsession with a very particular kind of female image. I mean, how often – even today – do you see female models sporting a pair of sexy specs in an ad?

Anyway, it was Paris, it was the 1960s, and the film is fun. It’s full saccharine-sweet pop songs (music and lyrics by Serge Gainsbourg), dance routines, and two eccentric aunts who keep pet pigs and try to find an alternative wife for their lovesick nephew (with Marianne Faithful as the prime candidate). What more could you want?

[laser eye surgery -Ed]

Emma Mcrae

Also showing at MIFF:

10 conditions of love


North (Nord)

The Girlfriend Experience


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