On the reception of Godard’s films
Many people didn’t like the films at the time. I remember when we did Vivre sa vie, there were two guys in a café behind Godard. One was saying he hated the film, the other that it was great, so Godard went up to him and said, “So you didn’t like my film? Well, here, I’ll give you your money back!” People really disliked the films.
On other directors of the French new wave
They’d all hang out. [Claude] Chabrol was really nice back then, he used to give his short ends – the film from the end of the reel – to younger directors to use, as he was a little bit older. He’d always let Jean-Luc use his editing room. There’d always be something going on at the cinematheque too, and because I was so much younger, I never felt like I had much of a right to speak, but they taught me a lot.
On Le Mépris (1963)
Jean-Luc badly wanted to do a film with Brigitte Bardot, which I can understand! I’d gone with him to Rome in the beginning as the producers wanted to do it with Monica Vitti, but she turned up more than an hour late, staring out of the window like she wasn’t interested at all, so he went back to his original idea. I don’t think the film was a big success, which he was hurt about.
- Watch Breathless online on BFI Player
- Watch Le Mépris online on BFI Player
- Watch Goodbye to Language online on BFI Player
On Laughter in the Dark (1969)
It all started with Richard Burton. I was sent a big bouquet of white carnations – bad luck for an actor in France – but I was so proud to do a film with Burton. There was a lot of trouble between him and Tony [Richardson, director] because he was always late. Elizabeth Taylor was there, which didn’t make it any better, because they’d go for lunch and not come back. After a week, Tony said he couldn’t work with Burton – he was drunk, it was all over the papers – so they got in touch with Nicol Williamson who agreed to do it. I’ve never seen it.
Watch Anna Karina introducing Le Mépris
Bande à part Q&A with Anna Karina