Netflixed: Pierrot Le Fou

"Pierrot le Fou - Criterion Collection" (Criterion Collection)

Recently released Criterion Collection disc. Jean-Luc Godard's films are a gamble for me, some are simply unwatchable. Pierrot le Fou sounds intriguing however, there are warning signs I might roll my eyes at the datedness of it.

Shipped on 02/18/08.

Director Jean-Luc Godard's popular 1965 drama captures '60s French cool as only Godard could depict it. After attending a mindless party full of shallow chatter, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) suddenly feels a desperate need to escape and runs away with his baby-sitter, Marianna (Anna Karina). But Marianna's dark past still haunts her, and what follows is a roller-coaster ride filled with passion and desperation as the two lovers meet their fate. [From Shipped: Pierrot Le Fou]

Not sure if this will help or hinder my nascent screenplay, but according to IMDb, Godard allegedly shot the film without a script.

Godard also said:
"it is not really a film, it's an attempt at cinema. Life is the subject, with [Cinema]Scope and color as its attributes...In short, life filling the screen as a tap fills bathtub that is simultaneously emptying at the same rate."
Roger Ebert had this to say on the original release:
"Pierrot le Fou" was made in 1966 but only released in the United States this year. Thus it comes to Chicago after "Weekend" (1968), a film it superficially resembles. Both films are about a man and a woman on a cross-country odyssey. The form is convenient because literally anything can happen. (When the couple in "Weekend" entered that forest, they even met Emily Bronte.) But "Pierrot le Fou" is more relaxed, more fun, less bitter than "Weekend." And it contains Godard's most virtuoso display of his mastery of Hollywood genres.

It seems to be a gangster picture: Jean-Paul Belmondo leaves his wife and goes to live with his former girlfriend, Anna Karina. She has apparently killed a man. They go on the lam in a stolen car, wind up on a deserted island, play the Robinson Crusoe bit for awhile, and then go back to the mainland to face the music (as Edward G. Robinson might have put it).

But Godard never sticks closely enough to this plot to make it important. He does a curious thing. He will have a scene that is perfectly conventional, like a scene in a Hollywood gangster movie. But it doesn't come out of anything or lead into anything; it is important because of its tone, its texture and not because it advances the plot. Thus a Godard movie becomes a montage of pure technique; the parts don't fit together -- but they add up to an attitude. Does this make sense? More than any other director, Godard resists being written about.

but then had some second thoughts in 2007:
Godard's "Pierrot Le Fou" (1965) is the same film I liked so much when it opened here in 1968, and assigned a 3.5 star rating. In fact, it is probably a better film, because the Music Box is showing it in a new 35mm print. But while I once wrote of it as "Godard's most virtuoso display of his mastery of Hollywood genres," I now see it more as the story of silly characters who have seen too many Hollywood movies.

There was a point when it was revolutionary to show young lovers flaunting society, committing crimes thoughtlessly and running hand-in-hand over hill and dale, beach and field. And then there was a point where it was post-revolutionary. Or maybe, to take a more optimistic view of the progress of cinema, pre-revolutionary.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on February 18, 2008 7:55 PM.

9/11 De-Commissioned was the previous entry in this blog.

How Green Is My Realtor is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37