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Band of Outsiders

Jean-Luc Godard

Band à part

It’s got the girl, the gun . . . and one of the most exhilarating dance sequences in the movies. After a long absence from our screensoduring which it was lovingly homaged by the likes of Tarantino and Hal Hartleyothe pulp plotting and beautiful innocence of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 black-and-white crime caper are back, courtesy of a new BFI print.
JLG’s filmic pursuit of life, liberty and the whole damn thing is about as enjoyable as cinema gets. Made during his most prolific phase, and coming after the rigours of shooting Le Mepris, The Outsiders (its old English title) is an inside look at cinematic spontaneity. Looking as if its genesis was as effortless as breathing, able to catch the ebb and flow of thought and emotion, it’s a typically distinctive take on Dolores Hitchens’ B-list novel Fool’s Gold. Combining the transatlantic connection with a pre-war French literary influence in the shape of a romantic threesome (Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur and Sami Frey, all the epitome of Gallic cool), it’s a guys-meet-girl-meet-pile-of-money picture . . . with most of the time spent planning and waiting. Plenty of room, therefore, for other businessolanguage classes, sideways glances, races through the Louvre, driving, talkingowith Godard constantly throwing out philosophical and literary hooks in his own voice-over.
Thirty-six years old it may be, but it still seems a film apart: see it for its easy charm, playful self-reflexivity and spirit of curiosity, for its unforced and unsentimental joi de vivre. Minor Godard, given the œuvre, but major pleasure. Life was never this perfectly poised.oGareth Evans/Time Out.

France, 1964.
English subtitles.
Black and white.
95 mins.

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