Claim to Fame
One of the leading actresses during the French New Wave movement of the 1960s
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Anna Karina (born Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer on 22 September 1940) is a Danish film actress, director, and screenwriter. Karina is known as a muse of the Swiss-French director, Jean-Luc Godard, one of pioneers of French New Wave. Her notable collaborations with Godard include The Little Soldier (1960), A Woman Is a Woman (1961) and Vivre sa vie (1962). It has been rumored she co-directed most of Godard`s films in this era. With A Woman Is a Woman, Karina won the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival.
Karina`s mother was a dress shop owner and her father a ship`s captain. Before Karina turned one, her father had left her mother. After being raised by her maternal grandparents, where she stayed until the age of four, she spent time in and out of foster homes, before returning to live with her mother from the age of eight. She has described her childhood as "terribly wanting to be loved" and made numerous attempts as a child to run away from home.
She began her career in Denmark, where she sang in cabarets and worked as a model playing in commercials. At age 14, she appeared in a Danish short film by Ib Schedes which won a prize at Cannes. She studied dance and painting in Denmark and for a while made a living selling her paintings. In 1958, after a row with her mother, she hitch-hiked to Paris.
Hanne Karin Bayer came to Paris in 1958 at 17. She didn`t speak any French or have any money. Living off the streets she got a break when sitting briefly at the cafe Les Deux Magots, she was approached by a woman from an advertisement agency who asked her to do some photos. She became a successful fashion model, meeting Pierre Cardin and Coco Chanel. Chanel helped her devise her professional name, Anna Karina.
Karina`s first film appearance, although unauthorized, dates from 1959, when a soap advertisement in which she appeared as a model was included near the end of Guy Debord`s On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time. The image was accompanied by Debord`s voice-over "The advertisements during intermissions are the truest reflection of an intermission from life."
Jean-Luc Godard, then a film critic for Cahiers du cinéma, first saw Karina in series of Palmolive ads in a bath covered in soapsuds. Godard was casting his debut feature film, À bout de souffle. He offered her a small role, but she refused when he mentioned that there would be a nude scene. When Godard queried her refusal, referring to the supposed 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 event, the character Godard reserved for her did not appear in the film.
The next year, however, Godard contacted her again to offer her a role in Le Petit Soldat (1960). Karina, who was still under 21 had to persuade her estranged mother to sign the contract for her.
Karina won the Best Actress Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1961 for her interpretation of the character Angela in the film Une femme est une femme. Her acting career was not, however, limited to Godard`s films, and she went on to a successful collaboration with other well-known directors. Her role in Suzanne Simonin, la Religieuse de Diderot (1967) directed by Jacques Rivette is considered by some as her best performance. She also acted in Luchino Visconti`s L`Etranger.
Other notable films include: George Cukor`s Justine (1969), Tony Richardson`s Laughter in the Dark (1969), Christian de Chalonge`s L`Alliance (1970), Andre Delvaux`s Rendezvous a Bray (1971), The Salzburg Connection (1972), Franco Brusati`s Bread and Chocolate (1973) and Rainer Werner Fassbinder`s Chinese Roulette (1976). In 1972 set up a production company named Raska for her film-directing debut Vivre Ensemble, in which she also acted and which was released in 1973. She wrote and acted in Last Song in 1987. She has since appeared in Haut, Bas, Fragile (1995) by Jacques Rivette and sang in The Truth About Charlie.
Karina has also appeared on stage, in Rivette`s adaptation of La Religieuse, Pour Lucrece, Toi et Tes Nuages, Francoise Sagan`s Il Fait Beau Jour et Nuit and Ingmar Bergman`s Apres La Répétition.
Karina has also maintained an important 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 taken 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. She subsequently recorded an album Une histoire d`amour with Philippe Katerine, which was followed up by a concert tour. Karina has also written three novels and made several appearances on television. In 2005 she released Chansons de films, a collection of songs sung in movies.
Karina wrote, directed and starred in Victoria, a musical road movie filmed in Montreal, Quebec and Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean in 2007. The movie was premiered at the Pusan Film Festival in Korea in 2008. An early review by Richard Kuipers in Variety praised it as "a pleasant gambol through the backwoods of Quebec...Given plenty of room to work off each other, the members of this fine ensemble keep pic on track...Big plus is the music and heartfelt songs by Philippe Katerine". "Victoria" is under consideration for the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC in April.
Karina also wrote at least two fiction books, "Jusqu`au bout du hasard" and "Golden City", both only available in French.
Godard and Karina married on 3 March 1961, during the shooting of Une femme est une femme, and divorced in 1967. After Godard, she was married thrice more: to scriptwriter-actor Pierre Fabre (1968–1973), actor-director Daniel Duval (1978–1981) and director Dennis Berry (1982–1994).
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Hanna Karin Blarke Bayer
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Anna Karina (born Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer; 22 September 1940) is a Danish-French citizen, film actress, director, and screenwriter who has spent most of her working life in France. She is known as a muse of the director Jean-Luc Godard, one of the pioneers of the French New Wave. Her notable collaborations with Godard include The Little Soldier (1960), A Woman Is a Woman (1961), Vivre sa vie (1962), and Alphaville (1965). With A Woman Is a Woman, Karina won the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival.
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actress, director, screenwriter
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