The fourth tableau of Godard's Vivre Sa Vie presents a crucial episode in the life of its protagonist Nana — a turning point in her story. She is giving a statement to the police about an incident in which she saw a woman on the street drop a 1000-franc note and tried to steal it. The woman caught her and Nana returned the note, but the woman pressed charges anyway.
In the course of this interrogation, we learn that Nana has lost her apartment, is staying with friends when she can and has no resources, having already borrowed from her place of employment against future wages.
The scene plays out in close-ups — on Nana, silhouetted against a window, and on the middle-aged police clerk asking her questions and typing up her replies. As usual when Godard wants us to concentrate on the character Nana, he obscures the face of the actress playing her. We are being asked to look past the beauty of Anna Karina into the soul of the fictional character she's presenting.
Godard elicits sympathy for Nana through the clerk, who seems to pity her and feel concern for her welfare. Karina herself delivers her lines softly and hopelessly. At the end of the scene, she starts a sentence she can't finish — “I . . .” and then adds, “is someone else.” At this moment she turns her profile to the camera, her face is illuminated, and we are meant to ask, “Who has she become?”
Godard has shown us how Nana uses her charm on customers at the shop where she works. He has shown her hustling men for small favors, and breaking up with a man most probably because he isn't rich enough. He has suggested that she has slept with men in return for a place to crash, and that she will pose for nude photographs in the hopes of “selling” herself to the movies.
She is about to take a further step along the road of trading her charm, and her body, for money.
VIVRE SA VIE — TABLEAU 5