She Lives Her Life (2014) – By Kirsten Walsh

A creative film that borders on the line of abstract, Mark Thimijan’s “She Lives Her Life” is a story all about the journey and not the destination. Separated by chapters, designating the sections, the film follows Betsy down a rabbit hole of her life. The film is a “remake” of the 1962 Jean-Luc Godard film “Vivre Sa Vie”, which follows Anna Karina on her descent into prostitution. The film speaks loudly of the $5,000 budget and makes the most of micro budget filmmaking, utilizing breathtaking cinematography in sequences to highlight the desperation and desolation of the main character.

In the twelve chapters of the film, we see Betsy come face to face with men in the everyday world that only stand out because they are the only other characters. A man who robs her, the cop who responds, a bystander at a bar, the past love of her life. The film is told mainly through imagery, and through the motions and movements of Betsy, but not necessarily what she says.

Karis Yanike does a strong job playing the character of Betsy. Her character is that of an aloof bitch, who, in the first few minutes of the film, breaks up with a guy and kicks him out of her apartment, and we watch it all from behind her. It is hard to say that choices the Thimijan and his team made were original, since the film is a straight remake, with the majority of the shot ideas being taken directly from “Vivre Sa Vie” (a sample can be seen on the “She Lives Her Life” facebook page). It can be said that the film is a statement on the feminine presence and the position that women are forced to be in throughout their lives, relying on men. Betsy’s character owns her own pawn shop (which looks more like a hipster boutique), and is constantly interrupted by men, whether it be to rob her or to try to buy back their possessions. The final sequence of the film is intriguing as it is mostly symbolic, as all of the men in Betsy’s life take their shots at her- literally. While the effects highlight the lower budget of the film, the symbolism is poignant and memorable.

Overall, the film is a good watch and a good observation in filmmaking. It is said one of the best forms of flattery is replicating, which is seemingly what Thimijan and Yanike have done with “She Lives Her Life”. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next!