Paper Example. Comparison and Analysis: Vivre Sa Vie, 1962 vs. Raw, 2016

Published: 2023-08-03
Paper Example. Comparison and Analysis: Vivre Sa Vie, 1962 vs. Raw, 2016
Essay type:  Compare and contrast
Categories:  Analysis Philosophy Movie Comparative literature
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1942 words
17 min read

Jean Luc Godard’s Vivre Sa Vie and Julia Ducournau’s Raw are epical representations of society’s conduct and behavior towards individual freedom. The two French nationalists present the two sets of the film with dire contrasting philosophical angles and historical descriptions of their times. Amidst other themes and philosophies, Godard’s Vivre sa Vie centers around prostitution (Giovannoli 139). On the other hand, the revolving idea in Ducournau’s Raw is cannibalism (Naqi 3). However, the two filmmakers seemingly had the same target audience with their invention, and only the stylistic presentation distinguishes the films apart. Through existentialism, freedom, the transition to adulthood, and prostitution and cannibalism, this current undertaking considers a comparison and an analysis of the themes, philosophical orientation, and stylistic strategies used by the two filmmakers.

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The main characters in both films tend to pass through the self-realization and awareness phase. This facet is evident all throughout the movie. The most prevailing theme across the two films is the aspect of individual freedom and free will (Vivre Sa Vie; Raw). This theme is evident in almost all scenes where protagonists partake in activities of their own accord. Coming of age, adulthood is also a common theme in Vivre Sa Vie - 1962 and Raw - 2016. Individuals belonging to society should abide by the rules created by the community. Likewise, society should accept the individual’s own decisions if these decisions do not harm society.

Loosely translated to ‘My Life to Live,’ Goddard’s movie showcases the life of a young lady who starts off selling records (Vivre Sa Vie). She later transitions to prostitution as it has better pay. On the other hand, Ducournau’s Raw also presents almost the same case of the search for independence and self-realization. Raw depicts a transitioning phase in young adulthood. The movie showcases Justine’s entry to veterinary school and subsequent exploration and exploitation of the self through school traditions and life in college (Raw).

Film Analysis

First Film: Raw.

This epic movie is an invention of Julia Ducournau’s representation of a 16-year-old young veterinary student (Raw 2016). Justine is the name of this protagonist, and she comes from a family of veterinary professionals who have a disturbing secret to keep. As a successful student, she succeeds in entering the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the age of 16. However, a brutal, attractive, and shaky world awaits her.

Justine, a young veterinary student, is a vegetarian. She arrives at the university and shares a room with Adrien, who will later become her boyfriend, albeit for a short while, as Justine’s sister, Alexia, kills him. To integrate with her classmates, she goes against her principles and tastes meat for the first time. Alexia, the sister, introduces her to this world. This tradition at the veterinary school changes the entire being of her body, starting with itchy rashes and later has an insatiable hunger for meat, raw meat for that case.

Second Film: Vivre Sa Vie.

Jean Luc Goddard’s movie, Vivre Sa Vie, tells of a young girl’s story throughout her working life. Nana, as acted by Anna Karina in the film, is portrayed as a timid young girl working in a record store but later decides to pursue her dreams. In so doing, she explores life on the streets. Nana meets Raoul, who introduces her to prostitution (Raw). She embraces this new life and lives to satisfy her male clients, suppressing her need for independence and freedom along the way.

The entire movie is sequenced in twelve parts, each part presenting a version of Nana that is representative of her development through life and progression into prostitution. Nana’s free will is also repeatedly subdued in the film. From her first pimp Raoul, she is traded to another pimp, and this act portrays her lack of freedom of choice and resolution to actualize her aspirations. The movie revolves around Nana, the central character in the play. It gives a sequential episodic interplay of actions and character sets to portray the director’s representation of an individual’s quest for self-identity and meaning of life.

Contrast and Comparison



Both films have a clear representation of the search for freedom and self-realization. This is a recurring theme throughout the films as Nana in Vivre Sa Vie, and Justine in Raw seek to understand themselves through adulthood and to find a foothold in society. Godard’s first representation of Nana is as a shop attendant at a record store. Moved by her passion for fending for herself and earning better wages for her labor, Nana is introduced to prostitution as a gateway to financial and individual freedom. However, she gets a different experience as her new trade turns out to be another form of slavery and exploitation of the self for the benefit of Mr. Raoul and the others of his kind.

Raw, in the same manner, displays Justine’s search for self-discovery. After being left at the veterinary school where both her parents were students, and her elder sister a senior in the school, Justine wonders how to survive through college and cater for herself, alone. It is the first time she is away from the care and protection of her parents. Also, given that her sister is unavailable to welcome her to the school scares her the most. However, her parents encourage her to find her sister or find her way. By that, she is left all alone.

The school routine starts with gross rituals for the newcomers, and as a vegetarian in a veterinary school, Justine eats raw meat for the first time in her life (Raw). This act is a violation of Nana’s right to choice and freedom as a vegetarian. Worse of it all is that her elder sister does not come to her defense. Alexia encourages her to consume the raw rabbit kidneys! Through Justine’s revolting body reactions in the form of vomiting and rashes on her body, Julia Ducounau manages to present the internal conflict between human bodies and human desires.

The hyperreactivity of Justine’s body resulting from consuming raw meat is an unconscious and involuntary reaction, yet Justine struggles to retain control of her body. The fight for freedom and self-control is lost, however, when she eats a mistakenly cut finger of her sister. She yields to her desire to consume raw human flesh, thus succumbing to her family’s secret as human eaters. Amidst all these doings and dealings, it is the search for self-awareness, identity, and free will and freedom to do as one wishes that Justine is fighting so much to attain. This struggle is likened to Nana’s melee in Vivre Sa Vie to become independent and financially stable.

Cannibalism vs. Prostitution

Godard’s depiction of the theme of prostitution is symbolic of oppression in many fronts as perpetrated against the human female species (Skartveit 6). To a certain extent, Vivre Sa Vie depicts unwilling prostitution, as Nana was a reluctant sacrificial lamb to an activity that benefits the others the most. Her pimp, Mr. Rauol, and her next employer all exploit feminism to their advantage as there is a seen showing Nana moving from room to room in search of vacancy to be used by her client. All the rooms are occupied, and this portrays how vibrant the business of prostitution was at the time.

On the other hand, Julia Ducournau uses Garance Marillier’s acting prowess to showcase cannibalism is a surreal way that it is difficult not to associate with it. Ducournau presents raw flesh as it is; the filmmaker wanted to portray the female body in the natural setting and glory. Most films usually glorify and sexualize the female gender, but Ducournau wished to present a coherent set of activities and characters minding their business in their natural domain. By so doing, cannibalism is present in Raw as an innate human desire (Naqi 4). The audience gets to relate to eating human flesh as a regular piece of meat, the only altercation being the killing of supposedly Justine’s boyfriend by Alexia.

Artistic and Stylistic Strategies

Documentary Film Making

Godard makes the use of references to other films and literary works to showcase his work. There are many instances where characters in the play refer to earlier philosophers or have poetic references to other literary works. This style is depicted where, in the opening scene, Nana’s companion reads her an epigraph from Montaigne and in the later stages of the film Nana is seen with a philosopher whom they exchange wisdom and understanding about life, love, and living (Vivre Sa Vie).

Slow-motion sequence shots

Through its fixation on the picture of Nana, Vivre Sa Vie turns into a sort of waiting or after-picture. Nana is best portrayed by the closeness of her face and the different ways it has been imaged than by the account, or any of the narratives it tells or viewpoints it reveals. At long last, the picture of Nana (segregated, crying, and cut hapless in the unadulterated space of the casing), is the substance of a blend of looks, motions, and tears that portrays the scene spinning around Nana’s moving visit to the theatre. This technique is likewise depicted in Raw by the depiction of students slowly crawling towards the party room. Moreover, most of the party scenes are shown in slow motion, depicting students indulging in heavy drinking and dancing.


Raw features traces from the Cronenberg and Lynch cinemas to bring together the duality of sophistication and cannibalism. The space, the music and the script are in perfect harmony with each other, and all this turns the film from an ordinary film full of scenes of pure savagery into a symbolic film that wants to explain something to the audience and expresses it with elements of fear. The main purpose of surrealism in both Raw and My Life to Live is to unlock the human mind to think beyond rationality (de Leeuw 219). Rationality, on the other hand, and in the context of these two films, depicts conformance to the norm. As such, Julia Ducournau and Jean Luc Godard employ surrealism to pass across the idea of self-actualization and fighting for what one believes to be true, even if this stand is contradictory to what society believes. This style liberates human thinking, language and human experiences from the bond of oppression castigated by rational societal practices and beliefs.



Scaffidi, Stefano and Duido defines egocentrism as peoples’ inability to understand and accept contrasting opinions and beliefs of others (p 2). This philosophy is a continuing ideology in both Raw and Vivre Sa Vie. It is like Godard and Ducournau read from the script, depicting their main characters to have a different opinion and perspective from the rest of community members. Vivre Sa Vie is set in a historical point in time when much of prostitution was a discrete profession. Though Nana engages in it, she does this despite her principles to earn an honest income. her self expression and philosophies are denied by her pimp, and the same is likened to Justine’s refusal to eat raw rabbit kidneys but her sister entices her to do the same.


Most prevalent in Raw, existentialism explores the fabric of human existence and expression of the self through human experience. This philosophy is practical through the changing body desires and the growing urge of Justine to consume raw meat. She starts by rummaging through the fridge in search of meat early in the morning, and later her urges run the better of her when her sister mistakenly cuts off her finger.

Existentialism is also evident in Vivre Sa Vie as Nana seeks to become a model and a leading actress.

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