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PIERROT LE FOU

Director: JEAN-LUC GODARD

FRANCE-ITALY • 1965 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DIGITAL • 110 MIN


LOVE ON THE RUN WAS NEVER SO CHIC AS IN JEAN-LUC GODARD’S HIP, FLIP, SUN-SPLASHED TRIBUTE TO HOLLYWOOD’S PULP FICTIONS, WITH ICONIC FUGITIVES JEAN-PAUL BELMONDO AND ANNA KARINA.

Shot in 1965, Pierrot le fou shows Godard balancing his political allegiances and semantic notions with a sense of fun and a keen awareness of the pleasure principle. The story outline plays the thriller game we all know so well — bourgeois husband, femme fatale, murder, money, escape, double-cross — and the camera’s clearly in love with Karina’s every mischievous glance. Yet it’s all patterned through a raft of cinematic, literary and painterly allusions in keeping with Belmondo’s central dilemma of trying to make sense of the world through an artist’s perception of it. If he’s the classic over-educated French intellectual thinking himself into a tizzy, she’s driven by the caprices of feeling, and barely the twain shall meet as Godard holds their ‘romance’ in suspension while events move to the Riviera’s azure seas and post-industrial landscape.

The film is perhaps best known for legendary Hollywood action director Sam Fuller’s party cameo, noting gnomically that cinema is ‘in a word, emotion’. For all his learned display, Godard at this stage is also fundamentally driven by his sheer intoxication with cinema’s expressive possibilities. As Karina and Belmondo find themselves occasionally breaking out into song and dance, Antoine Duhamel’s moody strings supply their own piquant melancholy and Raoul Coutard’s pop-art colours (especially vivid in this newly restored digital version) make it all look absolutely gorgeous. Go on, treat yourself, and see where Wes Anderson and Wong Kar-Wai stole their style from. — Trevor Johnston.

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