Born: Copenhagen, Denmark, 22 September 1940.
A former model, Karina appeared in commercials and a short film in Denmark before moving to Paris in 1959. Her meeting with Jean-Luc Godard was decisive for both. Godard’s “Karina years” (during most of which they were married) include seven features: Le Petit soldat (1960), Une femme est une femme / A Woman is a Woman (1961), Vivre sa vie / My Life to Life (1962), Bande à part / Band of Outsiders (1964), Alphaville, Pierrot le Fou (1965) and Made in USA (1967). The stunningly beautiful Karina was central to Godard’s (and the New Wave’s) vision of a “new” femininity: sensual, but also sensitive and intellectual, epitomized in the dreamy close-ups of Karina in Vivre sa vie / My Life to Life: smoking, reading, talking philosophy in cafés, crying at the cinema (Jeanne Moreau embodied another version of the New Wave woman). Karina starred in a few other auteur films, such as Michel Deville’s Ce soir ou jamais (1961) and Jacques Rivette’s La Religieuse (1965). Her career lost momentum after the split with Godard, although she directed Vivre ensemble in 1973, a telling document on the libertarian ethos of the 1960s and early 1970s.