Sauve qui peut (la vie)

Every Man for Himself | Rette sich, wer kann (das Leben)
Director Paul Godard is separated from his wife and daughter and living in a hotel when Denise, his lover, leaves him and moves to the country to start a new life. An alienated Paul tries to find his feet and seeks a rapprochement with his family. Or perhaps he should move into Denise’s old apartment? But the new tenant is slated to be a prostitute who counts Paul among her customers … While waiting on line to see Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, of all things, Isabelle looks for her next john. And for the next 45 minutes, Jean-Luc Godard loses all interest in the rest of his cast. His camera focusses instead almost exclusively on Isabelle Huppert. “Stop pretending” is the “director’s note” given by Godard the john, when Isabelle pretends to be aroused in bed. It almost seems as if Isabelle Huppert has made that her professional mantra. The emotional distance that Isabelle in Sauve qui peut (la vie) brings to bear on enduring the exercise of the world’s oldest profession is mirrored in the “frugality” of facial expressiveness that make Huppert’s face onscreen the perfect surface for projection.
by Jean-Luc Godard
with Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc, Nathalie Baye, Roland Amstutz, Guy Lavoro, Anna Baldaccini, Fred Personne, Cécile Tanner, Paule Muret
France / Switzerland / Federal Republic of Germany / Austria 1980 French 87’ Colour DCP: Gaumont, Neuilly-sur-Seine


  • Isabelle Huppert
  • Jacques Dutronc
  • Nathalie Baye
  • Roland Amstutz
  • Guy Lavoro
  • Anna Baldaccini
  • Fred Personne
  • Cécile Tanner
  • Paule Muret


Director Jean-Luc Godard
Written by Jean-Claude Carrière, Anne-Marie Miévielle, Jean-Luc Godard
Cinematography Renato Berta, William Lubtchansky
Editing Anne-Marie Miéville, Jean-Luc Godard
Music Gabriel Yared
Sound Luc Yersin
Production Design Romain Goupil
Producer Alain Sarde

Produced by

Sara Films


Saga Productions


Télévision Suisse Romande



Additional information

DCP: Gaumont, Neuilly-sur-Seine

Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard, born in 1930 in Paris. He was a critic for Cahiers du Cinéma before making his own mark on France’s New Wave cinema with À bout de souffle (1960) and Le Mépris (1963), thrusting him into the ranks of Europe’s star directors. After time utilising his filmmaking skills for political ends, he returned to cinema in 1980 with Sauve qui peut (la vie). He moved to Switzerland and made the documentary series Histoire(s) du cinéma (1998). He has since made numerous essay films that deal with historical, philosophical and topical political subjects.

Filmography (selection)

1962 Vivre sa vie 1965 Masculin – féminin 1967 Weekend 1968 One plus One (Sympathy for the Devil) 1982 Passion 1983 Prénom Carmen 1990 Nouvelle Vague 1991 Allemagne année 90 neuf zéro 2010 Film Socialisme 2018 Le Livre d’image

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022