Thoughts on Pierrot le fou

Thursday, May 20, 2010 8:24 PM By Simon

(by the way, this is pretty much my format for reviews now, unless I feel extra-opinionated on it. I'm just too lazy to format the fucker)

-I'd like to sincerely thank Wynter at CinemaScream for giving me this movie, out of the kindness of his heart, I presume. Naturally, I will feel like an asshole if I ever get a super awesome movie and don't give it to him. So far, go flock to his site and adore him like I now do.

-Here's why I love this movie, it's so many things. It's a comedy, and a road movie, and an existential drama, and a love story, and a thriller, and a musical, and it's very, very French. The music starts and stops at an abrupt random, it's structured very much like a scrapbook, a collage, scene transitions of exchanges spoken between the two main characters, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Marianna (Anna Karina, whose name reminds me of the Leo Tolstoy novel of a similar name). They, and once others, occasionally address the camera. Either speaking directly to it in a philosophical non-sequitar, sometimes their thoughts on their respective partner. Once, they're driving, and Ferdinand turns around to say something, looking directly into the camera, and when Marianna asks him who he's talking to, he says the audience, of course. She says 'Ah', and they go on with the conversation. It's surreal, and hallucinogenic, sometimes nightmarish, a dizzying thing, frantic at times and meandering others, heartbreaking, random, jittery, self-aware. The very best I could describe it is, the simplest, is Bonnie and Clyde high on sun, life, and used college philosophy textbooks. I haven't seen any other Godard film, I don't know if this is the norm. Would someone recommend another?

-The subtitles are kind of awful. Misspelled, very fast, a difficultly white text. But I'm glad they didn't dub it...who could redo Anna Karina's whispered voice, her lovely voice, a curiously deadpan and at the same time romantic and passionate. Or Belmondo's baritone, stiff and weary and fantastic. French voices are amazingly lyrical and beautiful, I think, but their subtitles are shit.

-I wish someone would translate Karina's two books.

-Dude...what the fuck ever happened to Ferdinand's family, his kids? His wife is mentioned a few times, but you'd think he'd miss them, at least a little. They were adorable.

-Enjoy eternity, you two.


Burning Reels said...

Big fan of this film - I think it does help if you watch Godard's preceding films, as he does use ideas inspired by these throughout.

The Bonnie & Clyde inspiration is taken from his Band of Outsiders film - I would probably recommend either that or Breathless (his much acclaimed debut, although I found it somewhat overated), then maybe Weekend.

Not sure I love Godard's films (more in the Truffaut and Bresson camp myself) but I love his enthuasism, originality and ideas...that man is full of ideas!

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