Exuberance is the only word for it. Anna Karina, bored at home, lamenting her dismal romantic condition, dancing around in a hastily assumed outfit, declaring herself “the Lolita of comics,” the “Rollergirl!” This ye-ye-meets-garage-beat gem could only have sprung from the mind of Serge Gainsbourg, and it stands as one of many highlights in his score for the dazzling pop-art musical Anna, which aired as the first French color telefilm back in 1967 (and what color it is!). The “Anna” in question is Miss Karina, who is the elusive subject of a rich playboy’s obsession — only he (New Wave stalwart Jean-Claude Brialy) is too dim to realize she works right in his own photography studio…. I was quite proud to present the U.S. TV premiere of clips from this mind-warping delight on Media Funhouse a few years back, and I’m equally proud to present the Internet debut of subtitled clips from this unjustly neglected bit of pure Sixties joy. Clips from the film do appear on YouTube in the original French, but I was lucky enough to acquire a subtitled copy of the film, so those who do not understand French can follow along with Serge’s wonderfully dippy pop lyrics. Other songs from the film display his songwriting skills to more refined effect, but this little number is perhaps his most rockin’ ye-ye tune, interpreted by a goddess of the New Wave, Ms. Anna Karina. Best known for her transcendent appearances in the films of Godard, she was split from Uncle Jean by the time this film appeared (she looks radiant here, but director Pierre Koralnick couldn’t match the evenly-lit, god-does-she-look-beautiful close-ups of her onetime husband/genius). Anna is instantly loved by those who see it, but it’s been barely seen on these shores — to date, no American distributor has ever acquired it, and I know of no theatrical screenings in the U.S. All the more reason to spread the word — this is a musical I never, ever seem to grow tired of.
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