Pierrot le fou (1965) | Jean-Luc Godard’s anarchic on-the-road crime thriller romance still fascinates
Tired of his bourgeois wife and materialistic lifestyle, restless TV executive Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) escapes to the French Riveria with his former girlfriend-Marianne (Anna Karina), who is being hunted by some gun-running gangsters.
But their carefree new life is quickly interrupted by their pursuers, and a man called Fred (Dirk Sanders), who may or may not be Marianne’s brother…
Belmondo scored a BAFTA nod for his performance in Godard’s anarchic tale about a couple unable to escape fate no matter how far they flee. Made off the cuff, but with meticulous attention, this free-wheeling road movie certainly displays the director’s love for American pulp fiction and pop culture, while also delivering an allegorical view of the Vietnam war.
Godard regular Raoul Coutard provides the beautifully mounted visuals, that evoke pop art and comics, while a cameo from American cult director Samuel Fuller serves to reminds us that what we are experiencing is not a film as such but ‘an attempt at cinema’. His theory that ‘Film is like a battleground. Love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In one word… emotion!’ perfectly sums up Godard’s fascinating, and somewhat frustrating, revolutionary post-modern experiment.
Pierrot le fou (Cert 15, 113 mins) is available on StudioCanal’s Jean-Luc Godard The Essential Blu-ray Collection five-disc box set alongside featuring Alphaville, Le Mépris, Breathless, and Une Femme est Une Femme.
The special features include the following…
• Introduction by Colin McCabe
• Anna Karina interview
• Godard, Love and Poetry (53min)
• Film Analysis by Jean-Bernard Pouy
• Trailer (2min)
• German TV advert (4min)
Parisian striptease dancer Angela (Anna Karina) yearns to have a child, but her bookseller husband Emile (Jean-Claude Brialy) is only interested in cycling. Angela then turns her attentions to Emile’s best friend Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo) who ends up falling in love with her.
This delightful light comedy from 1961 was Jean-Luc Godard’s second feature, but his first to be shot in colour and in a studio. It also earned him and his then wife Anna Karina awards at the Berlin Film Festival.
Channelling the spirit of American screwball comedies and musicals of the 1930’s, with an affectionate nod to director Ernst Lubitsch (Belmondo’s character is named after the Hollywood legend), this off-centre tribute is dominated by an engaging Karina as the naïve dancer and Belmondo as the gauche, tongue-tied Alfred. A colourful confection indeed.
Une Femme Est Une Femme (Cert PG, 80min) is available on StudioCanal’s Jean-Luc Godard The Essential Blu-ray Collection five-disc box set alongside featuring Breathless, Le Mépris, Pierrot le fou and Alphaville.
The special features include and introduction by Colin McCabe, an interview with Anna Karina, and galleries of photos and posters.