Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre Sa Vie, from 1962, is divided into twelve tableaux, or chapters, each introduced by a title card.
Before the first tableau is a credit sequence, with the film's credits superimposed over three close-ups of the film's star, Anna Karina — two profile views similarly framed but shot from different sides and one frontal shot of Karina's face.
The profiles are primarily back-lit, with a small amount of fill on the dark side of the face. The images are beautiful, almost iconic — Karina is still and composed. Her face is presented as a kind of landscape we are invited to explore. When she moves her lips slightly, or swallows, it seems as if the icon has taken on miraculous life. In between these shots is the frontal shot, fully lit. In it we can see tears beginning to well up in Karina's eyes — she looks lost and bewildered.
This sequence of shots is a kind of program for the film that follows, in which Godard will celebrate the cinematic presence of his star almost as a work of art, as a predominantly aesthetic phenomenon, and also tell the story of her character, a confused, self-absorbed young woman, who is indeed lost and bewildered, unequipped to navigate the world which will destroy her.
The portrait of the character is alternately judgmental and compassionate, never fully resolved on this level. The aesthetic presentation of the actress's beauty and exhilarating cinematic presence is consistently celebratory, but also tends to objectify her to some degree.
All of these levels of meaning and their conflicts with each other are summed up in the three shots of the credit sequence.