MB: I’d like to bring up three myths of Godard, that I neither quite agree nor disagree with (or that I don’t think are necessarily quite positive or negative: 1) His adolescent obsession, 2) His sexism. And the third, which I don’t agree with at all, is that he’s pretentious. But that’s complicated. So let’s focus on the first two.
RB: By adolescent obsession you mean his relationships with young women? In his later film he’s, of course, very open about it. The relationship between older men and younger women is the subject of most of his later films. Back in the 1960’s it was a different story.
His relationship with Anna Karina is a personal relationship as well as an artistic relationship. He explained subsequently that he thought of the director/actor relationship as a primal trope in the classic cinema: Josef Von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, Jean Renoir and Catherine Hessling…. And he thought maybe he would reproduce a similar personal and artistic collaboration in his relationship with Anna Karina. There was an age difference: Godard is ten years older than Anna Karina. But there was also a significant difference in interests. Godard was and is an intellectual. Anna Karina was not and is not an intellectual. He always said in interviews that one of the difficulties he had in their relationship is that he couldn’t necessarily talk to her about movies the way he wished she could and would do. He also said that for her he felt the problem was that she wanted to go to Hollywood, and these kind of films weren’t going to get her to Hollywood. That she had a more traditional view of what it is to be a movie star and an actress, but mainly a movie star."
Read the rest of the interview at The House Next Door.