Sauve Qui Peut (la Vie), a pessimistic but visually stunning film, marks Jean-Luc Godard's return to cinema after having spent the 70s working in video.
The film presents a few days in the lives of three people: Paul Godard (Jacques Dutronc ), a television producer; Denise Rimbaud (Nathalie Baye), his co-worker and ex-girlfriend; and Isabelle Riviera (Isabelle Huppert), a prostitute whom Paul has used. Denise wants to break up with Paul and move to the country.
Isabelle wants to work for herself instead of her pimp. Paul just wants to survive. Their stories intersect when Paul brings Denise to the country cottage he is trying to rent and Isabelle comes to see it without knowing that the landlord has been her client. The film is broken into segments entitled The Imaginary, Commerce, Life, and Music.
Each of the first three sections focuses on one character and the last section brings all three characters together. This complex film is often closer to an essay than a story; it uses slow motion and experimental techniques to explore questions of love, work, and the nature of cinema.
Sauve Qui Peut (la Vie) was Godard's first film with his frequent collaborator Anne-Marie Miéville, who edited and co-wrote the film.