Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer
22 September 1940
|Died||14 December 2019 (aged 79)|
|Resting place||Père Lachaise Cemetery|
|Occupation(s)||Actress, film director, writer, singer|
Anna Karina (born Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer; September 22, 1940 – December 14, 2019) was a Danish-French film avant garde actress, director, writer, and singer. She was French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard's collaborator in the 1960s, performing in several of his films, including The Little Soldier, A Woman Is a Woman, My Life to Live, Bande à part (Band of Outsiders), Pierrot le Fou (Crazy Pete) and Alphaville. For her performance in A Woman Is a Woman, Karina won the Silver Bear Award for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival.
In 1972, Karina set up a production company for her directorial debut, Vivre ensemble (1973), which screened in the Critics' Week lineup at the 26th Cannes Film Festival. She also directed the French-Canadian film Victoria (2008). In addition to her work in cinema, she worked as a singer, and wrote several novels.
Karina was an icon of 1960s cinema, and referred to as the "effervescent free spirit of the French New Wave, with all of the scars that the position entails". The New York Times described her as "one of the screen's great beauties and an enduring symbol of the French New Wave."
Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer was born on September 22, 1940, in Frederiksberg, Denmark. Her mother was a dress shop owner and her father was a ship captain who left the family a year after she was born.
She lived with her maternal grandparents for four years, then spent the next four years in foster care before returning to live with her mother and her abusive step-father when she was eight. As a child, her mother told her that she was ugly, and that her eyes and forehead were too big. She has described her childhood as "terribly wanting to be loved", as she felt unwanted and unloved. She made numerous attempts to run away from home, trying to find boats that would take her to Sweden or America. She dreamt of becoming an actor from a young age and wanted to attend drama school but at the time the age requirement for Danish drama schools was 21.
As a student, she rarely attended school and when she achieved good grades in her certificate exams, her school refused to believe she had done so without cheating. The injustice made her leave school at the age of 14.
Beginnings and Modeling
After leaving school, she went on to find work as a lift operator in a department store and as an assistant to an illustrator.
She began her professional career in Denmark, where she sang in cabarets and worked as a model playing in commercials. Aged 14, she was spotted in the street by Ib Schmedes, who cast her as the lead in his forty-minute short film Pigin og skoene (1959, The Girl and The Shoes), which won a prize at Cannes. However, as things didn't seem to be going well at home, where in an evening her step-father beat her very badly, she decided to leave. With the equivalent of $15, which she'd received from her grandfather, she hitchhiked to Paris. She has said that although she grew up in Denmark, she was “fascinated” by France and after traveling to Paris at age 14, she wanted to go back and live there.
In the summer of 1958, aged 17, Karina arrived in Paris. With only 10,000 francs and unable to speak French, she struggled to find a place to stay and had to ask neighborhood priests for somewhere to sleep. Finally, a young priest found her a small room on the rue Pavée, just behind the Bastille. One day, while starving and wandering through Paris, she found herself in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. She sat down at Les Deux Magots café, where a woman called Catherine Harlé approached her and asked her if she would be willing to do some photos. Suspicious at first, Karina finally agreed when she found out it was a professional shoot for the French newspaper Jours de France. After finishing the shoot, Harlé, although telling Karina that she wasn't very talented, gave her some contacts.
She began to work as a model and eventually became successful, posing for several magazines, including Elle, and meeting Pierre Cardin and Coco Chanel. Karina has said that when she met Chanel on the set of the Elle photoshoot, Chanel told her: “I believe you want to be an actress… You need to learn French. What’s your name little girl?” “Hanne Karin Bayer.” Karina replied. And Chanel said: “No: Anna Karina – call yourself that.” It was deliberately coined to evoke the Leo Tolstoy novel, Anna Karenina. She also appeared in commercials for products such as Coca-Cola, Pepsodent, and Palmolive soap. She was still underage but received enough money to find herself a place to stay. And as she still wanted to attend drama school, she sat in movie theaters and watched French movies to teach herself the language.
Jean-Luc Godard, then a film critic for Cahiers du cinéma, first saw Karina in the Palmolive adverts in which she posed in bathtubs, during movie previews in a Monsavon pub. He was casting his debut feature film, Breathless (À bout de souffle, 1960), and offered her a small part in it, but she refused when he mentioned that there would be a nude scene. When Godard questioned her refusal, mentioning her apparent nudity in the Palmolive ads, she is said to have replied, "Are you mad? I was wearing a bathing suit in those ads—the soapsuds went up to my neck. It was in your mind that I was undressed." In the end, the character Godard reserved for Karina did not appear in the film. Godard offered her a role in The Little Soldier (Le Petit Soldat, not released until 1963) which concerns contentious French actions during the Algerian War. She played a pro-Algerian activist. Karina, then still under 21, had to persuade her estranged mother to sign the contract for her. The film was immediately controversial, outlawed from French theaters for its content referencing the Algerian War.
As Angela in A Woman Is a Woman (Une femme est une femme, 1961), Karina's role was as an unattached striptease dancer who nevertheless wishes to have a child and daydreams about appearing in MGM musicals. Her school-girl costume emulated Leslie Caron in Gigi (1958), worn even while performing her act. Karina won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 11th Berlin International Film Festival for her performance. In all, Karina appeared in eight films directed by Godard, including My Life to Live (Vivre sa vie, 1962), Band of Outsiders (Bande à part, 1964) Pierrot le Fou and Alphaville (both 1965). In Pierrot le Fou, Karina's character is on the run with her ex-boyfriend, while in Alphaville, a science-fiction film often equated to Bladerunner, Karina's role requires her to have difficulty saying the phrase "I love you." The last film in the sequence was Made in USA (1966). Anne Billson, in an article querying the concept of the female muse, wrote that Godard in his films with Karina "seems to have trouble conceiving that the female experience revolves around anything other than prostitution, duplicity, or wanting babies." Karina herself did not object to being described as Godard's muse: "Maybe it's too much, it sounds so pompous. But of course I’m always very touched to hear people say that. Because Jean-Luc gave me a gift to play all of those parts."
Her career flourished, with Karina appearing in dozens of films through the 1960s, including: The Nun (La Religieuse, 1966), directed by Jacques Rivette; Luchino Visconti's The Stranger (Lo straniero, 1967); the George Cukor/Joseph Strick collaboration Justine (1969); and Tony Richardson's Laughter in the Dark (1969). She continued to work steadily into the 1970s, with roles in Christian de Chalonge's The Wedding Ring (L'Alliance, 1971), Andre Delvaux's Rendezvous at Bray (Rendez-vous à Bray, also 1971), The Salzburg Connection (1972), and Franco Brusati's Bread and Chocolate (Pane e cioccolata, 1973).
In 1972, she set up a production company, Raska, for her directorial debut, Living Together (Vivre ensemble, 1973), in which she also acted. The film screened in the Critics’ Week lineup at the 26th Cannes Film Festival.
She starred in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Chinese Roulette (Chinesisches Roulette, 1976); Fassbinder allegedly wrote the film for her and her partner at the time, Ulli Lommel. She later wrote and acted in Last Song (1987) and appeared in Up, Down, Fragile (Haut bas fragile, 1995), directed by Jacques Rivette, and sang in The Truth About Charlie (2002), a remake of the film Charade (1963).
Karina wrote, directed and starred in Victoria (2008), a musical road movie filmed in Montreal and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec. The lead character, played by Karina, has amnesia. Richard Kuipers praised it in Variety as "a pleasant gambol through the backwoods of Quebec."
Music and writing
Karina maintained a singing career. At the end of the 1960s, she scored a major hit with "Sous le soleil exactement" and "Roller Girl" by Serge Gainsbourg. Both songs are from the TV musical comedy Anna (1967), by the film director Pierre Koralnik, in which she sings seven songs alongside Gainsbourg and Jean-Claude Brialy. Karina subsequently recorded an album, Une histoire d'amour, with Philippe Katerine, which was followed by a concert tour. In 2005, she released Chansons de films, a collection of songs sung in movies.
Karina wrote four novels: Vivre ensemble (1973), Golden City (1983), On n'achète pas le soleil (1988), and Jusqu'au bout du hasard (1998).
While working together on Le Petit Soldat, as the crew were having a dinner party in Lausanne, Godard wrote a note and gave it to Karina, saying: “I love you, come and meet me at midnight in a café called Café de la Prez.” At the time Karina was in a relationship but she had already fallen in love with Godard so she ended her relationship with her then-boyfriend and went to meet Godard. They began a relationship and married in 1961. Eventually, Karina served as a cinematic muse to Godard, appearing in eight of his films, including Alphaville, Bande à part, and Pierrot le Fou, during their five-year marriage and after. Karina liked being the muse, stating in 2016: "How could I not be honoured? Maybe it's too much, it sounds so pompous. But of course I’m always very touched to hear people say that. Because Jean-Luc gave me a gift to play all of those parts. It was like Pygmalion, you know? I was Eliza Doolittle and he was the teacher." The couple became, according to The Independent, "one of the most celebrated pairings of the 1960s." A writer for Filmmaker magazine called their work "arguably the most influential body of work in the history of cinema." Despite the critical success, their relationship behind the scenes was described as tumultuous; they fought on film sets, she fell ill several times, attempted suicide and was subsequently hospitalized in a mental health institution. Godard was often absent without explanation. He was also very jealous, questioned Karina's acting ability and told her: “How are you going to say these lines? They’re so terrible! It’s a comedy, you are never going to be able to do that.” One Godard film from this period which does not feature Karina, Contempt (1963), is said to be based on their difficult relationship. The couple divorced in 1965.
It was all very exciting from the beginning. Of course we have a great love story and all that, but we were so different. He was 10 years older than me. He was very strange. He would go away and come back three weeks later ... It was difficult, and I was a young girl, not even 21—at the time Godard was 30. I know he didn't mean to hurt me, but he did. He was never there, he was never coming back, and I never knew where he was. He drove me a bit crazy.
After divorcing Godard, Karina remarried three times; she was married to French actors Pierre Fabre from 1968 to 1974 and Daniel Duval from 1978 to 1981, and to American film director Dennis Berry from 1982 until her death.
Karina died at the age of 79 on Saturday, 14 December 2019, at a hospital in Paris. According to her agent, Laurent Balandras, the cause of death was cancer. However, her husband, Dennis Berry, said that the cause was not cancer, but a complication following a muscular rupture.
Karina is regularly considered an icon of 1960s cinema, a staple in French New Wave cinema, as well as a style icon. The Guardian described her as an "effervescent free spirit of the French new wave." The New York Times described her style as looking like a schoolgirl in her acting roles, regardless of whether she was playing a streetwalker or a terrorist. Her signature look was her dark hair, wispy bangs, heavy eyeliner and school uniform of primary-coloured sailor-uniform tops, knee socks, plaid headwear such as berets and boaters. Refinery29 wrote that "her 60s French girl style – think sailor dresses, tartan, long socks, and hats – and mesmerizing doe-eyed beauty mean she continues to be referenced today by the super-stylish."
|1961||Tonight or Never||Valérie||Michel Deville|
|A Woman Is a Woman||Angela Récamier||Jean-Luc Godard|
|1962||Cléo from 5 to 7||The Fiancée||Agnès Varda||Episode: "Les fiancés du pont Macdonald"|
|She'll Have to Go||Toni||Robert Asher|
|Sun in Your Eyes||Dagmar||Jacques Bourdon|
|My Life to Live||Nana Kleinfrankenheim||Jean-Luc Godard|
|Three Fables of Love||Colombe||Hervé Bromberger||(segment "Le corbeau et le renard")|
|1963||The Little Soldier||Veronica Dreyer||Jean-Luc Godard|
|Sweet and Sour||La pauvre Ginette||Jacques Baratier|
|1964||Band of Outsiders||Odile||Jean-Luc Godard|
|Circle of Love||Rose / The Chambermaid||Roger Vadim|
|All About Loving||Hélène||Jean Aurel|
|1965||The Thief of Tibidabo||Maria||Maurice Ronet|
|Alphaville||Natascha von Braun||Jean-Luc Godard|
|The Camp Followers||Elenitza Karaboris||Valerio Zurlini|
|Un mari à un prix fixe||Béatrice Reinhoff||Claude de Givray|
|Pierrot le Fou||Marianne Renoir||Jean-Luc Godard|
|1966||The Nun||Suzanne Simonin||Jacques Rivette|
|Made in USA||Paula Nelson||Jean-Luc Godard|
|1967||Anna||Anna||Pierre Koralnik||TV movie|
|Zärtliche Haie||Elena / Costa||Michel Deville|
|The Oldest Profession||Natasha / Eleanor Romeovich, Hostess 703||Jean-Luc Godard||(segment "Anticipation")|
|The Stranger||Marie Cardona||Luchino Visconti|
|1968||The Magus||Anne||Guy Green|
|Before Winter Comes||Maria||J. Lee Thompson|
|1969||Man on Horseback||Elisabeth Kohlhaas||Volker Schlöndorff|
|Laughter in the Dark||Margot||Tony Richardson|
|Justine||Melissa||George Cukor and Joseph Strick|
|Dämonische Leinwand||Klaus Wyborny|
|1970||The Time to Die||The Unnamed Woman||André Farwagi|
|The Wedding Ring||Jeanne||Christian de Chalonge|
|1971||Rendezvous at Bray||She (The Waitress)||André Delvaux|
|Carlos||Clara||Hans W. Geißendörfer||TV movie|
|1972||The Salzburg Connection||Anna Bryant||Lee H. Katzin|
|1973||Vivre ensemble||Julie Anderson||Anna Karina|
|1974||Bread and Chocolate||Elena||Franco Brusati|
|Morel's Invention||Faustine||Emidio Greco|
|1976||The Musician Killer||Louise||Benoît Jacquot|
|Scrambled Eggs||Clara Dutilleul||Joël Santoni|
|Chinese Roulette||Irene Cartis||Rainer Werner Fassbinder|
|1978||Surprise Sock||Nathalie||Jean-François Davy|
|Just like Home||Anna||Márta Mészáros|
|Ausgerechnet Bananen||Natascha||Ulli Lommel|
|1979||The Story of a Mother||Christine Olsen||Claus Weeke|
|1980||Charlotte, Tell Your Mother that I Love Her||Stéphane||Aly Borgini|
|1983||Vincent's Friend||Eleonore||Pierre Granier-Deferre|
|1984||Ave Maria||Berthe Granjeux||Jacques Richard|
|1985||Treasure Island||The Mother||Raoul Ruiz|
|1987||Last Song||Susan||Dennis Berry|
|Last Summer in Tangiers||Myrrha, a cabaret singer||Alexandre Arcady|
|Cayenne Palace||Lola||Alain Maline|
|1988||The Abyss||Catherine||André Delvaux|
|1990||The Man Who Wanted to Be Guilty||Edith||Ole Roos|
|1995||Up, Down, Fragile||Sarah||Jacques Rivette|
|1996||Chloé||Katia||Dennis Berry||TV movie|
|2002||The Truth About Charlie||Karina||Jonathan Demme|
|2003||I, Cesar||Gloria||Richard Berry|
|2008||Victoria||Victoria||Anna Karina||(final film role)|
- Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 94.
- "Harrison Smith, "Anna Karina, luminous star of French New Wave films, dies at 79," The Washington Post, Obituaries, December 15, 2019". Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- "Anna Karina obituary | Movies | The Guardian". amp.theguardian.com. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
- "Anna Karina | Biography, Movies, & Facts | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
- "Anna Karina, légendaire actrice de la Nouvelle Vague, est morte" Le Monde. Retrieved 15 December 2019
- Cowie, Peter (2005). Revolution!: The Explosion of World Cinema in the Sixties. Macmillan. p. 62. ISBN 0-571-21135-6.
- "Berlinale 1961: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- Lang, Jamie (20 October 2017). "Lumière Festival: Celluloid Angels to Give Anna Karina Directorial Debut 'Vivre Ensemble' 4K Restoration". Variety. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- "Anna Karina biography". newwavefilm. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- "Looking For (But Never Really Finding) Anna Karina in New York on Notebook". MUBI. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- "Anna Karina – Interview with the Actress And Style Icon". Archived from the original on 1 April 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- Brooks, Xan (21 January 2016). "Anna Karina on love, cinema and being Jean-Luc Godard's muse: 'I didn't want to be alive any more'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- Kenny, Glenn (4 May 2016). "Anna Karina Recalls Her Life in Film With Jean-Luc Godard". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- "matchID – BAYER Hanne". matchID. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
Naissance […] Commune: Fredriksberg Solbjerg (99101)
- "Anna Karina obituary". The Times. London. 21 December 2019. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- Philistine. "STYLE ICON: Anna Karina". Philistine. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- Gates, Anita (15 December 2019). "Anna Karina, Star of French New Wave Cinema, Is Dead at 79". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
- "Anna Karina, actress and leading figure of the French New Wave who became muse to Jean-Luc Godard – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
- MacCabe, Colin (2003). Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy. New York City: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 125.
- MacCabe, p. 126.
- "10,000 Hours: Anna Karina". www.port-magazine.com. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
- AnOther (18 December 2019). "Remembering Anna Karina, the Leading Lady of French New Wave Cinema". AnOther. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
- "Olivia Palermo | Style Icon: Anna Karina | Olivia Palermo". oliviapalermo.com. Archived from the original on 19 August 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- MacCabe, 126–7.
- MacCabe, p. 127.
- Smith, Harrison (15 December 2019). "Anna Karina, luminous star of French New Wave films, dies at 79". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- "Anna Karina on Loving and Working With Jean-Luc Godard". Vogue. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- Karina, Anna (2003). DVD extra. Band of Outsiders. DVD. "Anna Karina".
- MacCabe, 124–5.
- Olah, Nathalie (12 February 2016). "Jean Luc Godard's muse Anna Karina on why she refused to star in Breatless". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- MacCabe, 127–8.
- Billson, Anne (29 December 2019). "Anna Karina, Catherine Deneuve: how movies malign women by calling them muses". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
- "Meet the Germans – Typically German – The Actors – Ulli Lommel – Goethe-Institut". Goethe.de. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
- "The Truth About Charlie". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- Kuipers, Richard (12 November 2008). "Review: 'Victoria'". Variety. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- Zahedi, Caveh. ""Be Beautiful and Shut Up": Anna Karina on Filmmaking with Jean-Luc Godard | Filmmaker Magazine". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- Knudsen, Tyler (30 April 2015). "Watch: Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina: A Marriage on Film". IndieWire. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- Sagansky, Gillian (4 May 2016). "Anna Karina on Her Torrid Love Affair with Jean-Luc Godard". W Magazine. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- Anna Karina, légendaire actrice de la Nouvelle Vague, est morte Le Monde, 15 December 2019.
- "Anna Karina: son mari rétablit la vérité sur le décès de l'actrice et chanteuse". Le Figaro. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2020.