Friday, July 11, 2008

"Pierrot Le Fou" (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)

Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 masterpiece "Pierrot Le Fou", can't be easily confined to one genre of film. But if I had to, I would put it under the "lovers on the lam" category, a sub-genre of the crime picture, as it has all the hallmarks of such a film (e.g. the femme fatale who ends up double crossing the main male character). Perhaps a comparison is better, though. It is like a pop-art version of "Bonnie and Clyde". Think of an ultra-stylized "Double Indemnity" directed by "Tokyo Nagaremono" director Seijun Suzuki. The story isn't anything new, but - as we expect from Godard - bursts of originality are obvious from the very beginning, in which we first meet the two main characters, Ferdinand (played by the ultra-cool Jean-Paul Belmondo) and the woman Ferdinand and his wife hired to be their childrens' babysitter, Marianne (played by the sexy and swanky Anna Karina). Once Belmondo returns home from a shag party (which is attended by none other than the great Samuel Fuller), he gets Marianne in his car and drives her to her house. On the drive there, we'll learn that the two were former lovers. Naturally (since the story needs to progress), they get back together. In order to escape some gangsters that are following Marianne, the two run away in hopes of escaping - which in turn leads us to the main bulk of the film.

"Pierrot Le Fou" - with its luscious cinematography by Raoul Coutard, incredible performances by Karina and Belmondo, and the master direction by Jean-Luc Godard - is a film that should not be missed by any cinephile. I for one was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to see it on the big screen, which was an experience I'll never forget. But for those of you are unable to do so, do yourself a favor and buy the 2-disc Criterion edition immediately (it's a great set that I display proudly on my shelf), and sit back and enjoy one of the all time great films.

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