Starring: Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy, Marianne Faithfull
Director: Pierre Koralnik
Running Time: 87 mins
Anna is a French film about a man who becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman he sees in a photograph, and sets about scouring the entire city to find her.
I really had a lot of fun with this film. It’s a very light-hearted and easy-going watch throughout, but its bright colours, pleasant music and chirpy performances all make it a real joy to watch, and when combined with some fantastically weird 60s art-style sequences, there’s a good little bit of weirdness to keep you on your toes just as well.
I think the best place to start off with this film is by saying how fantastically stereotypical it is of the 1960s. It’s a very loose, free-thinking story that has a lot of fun being a little different, whilst it’s bathed in bright kaleidoscopic colours, crazy costumes and strange art exhibitions throughout, making it feel like the very epitome of the 60s cultural stereotype.
But fortunately, it’s not all about being so 60s, and while that brings a lot of fun to the table, the story here works pretty well. Whilst some individual sequences might make no sense at all, and look more like an art project than anything to do with the plot, the main story following a man desperately searching for a woman and constantly missing her is very simple and very enjoyable.
Although it takes a little while to get into its stride, the second and third acts make it a very entertaining story, and the series of comical near misses between the two main characters are good fun to watch. Although the plot takes a turn for the more abstract in the final act, it fits in surprisingly well with the main quest to find this woman, and as bizarre as it all is (we’re talking random singing on the Moon weird), it seems to make sense, and is a lot of fun to watch.
Now, the other thing that you may not expect about this film is that it’s a musical, but it’s a very different one to what you’re used to. First off, there’s arguably more singing than actual dialogue in this movie, but unlike a pretentious and loud musical like Les Misérables, Anna makes the series of entertaining musical numbers fit in brilliantly well with the film as a whole.
In general, the songs are just one character singing their dialogue or internal monologues, but there’s very little emphasis on the fact they’re singing. As such, conversations or random scenes spontaneously break into song, but because the songs are generally very restrained, with no big notes or dancing etc., it works well as a pretty natural transition, making for a surprisingly enjoyable, if not unorthodox, musical.
Now, when it comes to the performances here, there are only two people to really talk about. Anna Karina and Jean-Claude Brialy both put in very light-hearted and enjoyable performances, looking as if they’re having great fun with this quirky romantic comedy-musical, and although the very simple plot doesn’t really offer much for character development, both Karina and Brialy are really fun to watch throughout.
Overall, I really enjoyed Anna. It’s a fantastically quirky and different little musical, whilst its light-hearted and enjoyable story makes for smiles from start to finish. What’s more, its two enjoyable central performances and generally stereotypical 60s vibe make it a hugely pleasant film throughout, and one that you can have a lot of strange fun with, which is why I’m giving it a 7.8.