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Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Jean-Paul BelmondoAnna KarinaGraziella GalvaniAicha Abadir
Jean-Luc Godard


Pierrot le Fou (1965) is a French,English,Italian movie. Jean-Luc Godard has directed this movie. Jean-Paul Belmondo,Anna Karina,Graziella Galvani,Aicha Abadir are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1965. Pierrot le Fou (1965) is considered one of the best Crime,Drama,Romance movie in India and around the world.

Ferdinand Griffon, married to a wealthy Italian wife, has recently been fired from the television station where he worked. His wife forces him to go to a party at the home of her influential father, who wants to introduce him to a potential employer. Her brother brings babysitter Marianne Renoir to take care of their children. Feeling bored at the bourgeois party, Ferdinand borrows his brother-in-law's car to head home. He meets Marianne, who was his mistress five years ago and insists on calling him Pierrot, and offers to take her home. They spend the night together and he learns that she's involved in smuggling weapons. When terrorists chase her, they decide to leave Paris and his family behind and go on the run, on a crazy journey to nowhere.


Pierrot le Fou (1965) Reviews

  • Godard Clowns Around, Creates Masterpiece


    Artists are often remembered more for their brasher, earlier work - films, novels, paintings, etc. that pushed the boundaries of their medium to create something bold and unique. Sometimes, though, we ignore the faults of those earlier works, while more mature, more perfect later works are ignored because they lack the visceral shock of the new inherent in the artist's first pieces. Godard strikes me as an artist of which this occurrence is particularly true. His Breathless ushered in the Nouvelle Vague of French cinema and has long been held as not only a classic, but also his masterpiece. As wonderful and fun as Breathless is, I find it much slighter Godard's later work, most notably Vivre Sa Vie, Le Mepris, Bande A Part, Weekend, and, of course, Pierrot Le Fou. Breathless represents more technical innovation than anything else. It is a terrific story, but one that lacks the thematic depth of those other films. Godard touches upon the ideologies that will concern him later, but he does not delve into the plight of woman, the pitiful nature of the bourgeoisie, or the nature of film as much as he would in a couple years. For me, the greatest achievement of Godard is Pierrot Le Fou. In it, he combines comedy, the road picture, extreme pathos, a scathing indictment of Capitalism, and a critique of contemporary society in an unimaginable way. The film moves along, following Ferdinand and Marianne, but any semblance of a normal narrative gets lost along the way. This is, of course, welcome. You do not come to Godard expecting the ordinary. Though it lacks the photographic beauty of Le Mepris, Pierrot nevertheless represents one of Godard's most brilliant uses of color. The use of color filters in an early scene, reminiscent of Ivan the Terrible II's final scenes, is quite arresting and the overall use of the eastmancolor pallet is gorgeous. This is a very, very colorful film, which is appropriate for such a playful narrative. The acting is similarly brilliant. Belmondo gives a more nuanced and more demanding performance here than he did in Breathless, and Karina matches him. Like one of the great starlets of the 40s and 50s, she bestows a grace, beauty, and elegance to her scenes. It helps that Godard's camera absolutely adores her (not quite as much, though, as it adored Brigitte Bardot's rear in Le Mepris), but much of what she does in this film derives from her talent rather than Godard's. Again, though, I must warn that Pierrot is not a film for everyone. Yes, it's a funny, brilliantly acted, and beautiful film, but it's also Godard, one of the most acquired tastes in the history of cinema. That said, if you've not seen this film and consider yourself a fan of this director, see it soon - you'll not be disappointed.

  • Go Crazy with Pierrot


    Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou begins with a montage that features some of the most beautiful images ever caught on film. (Tellingly, the only other '60s film to feature such lush photography was Godard's Contempt). But even before these images appear, we've been captured by the soundtrack. Some of the most creative exposition ever follows and things only get better from there on in. To summarize Pierrot is to betray its essence -- it's as much about its own making as any story -- but here goes nothing: Pierrot, a bored man stuck in a bourgeois marriage, runs off with his children's babysitter, Marianne, herself hiding from gangsters. Bizarre musical numbers and hilarious conversations with no relevance to the plot sometimes break up the story. Characters talk to the camera, and Pierrot yells "Mais, je m'appele Ferdinand!" ("But I'm named Ferdinand!") Still, plot hardly seems to matter while watching the film. Godard is often called elitist or inaccessible. That's not true, however, and Pierrot is, above all, wild, anarchic fun. Try not to laugh during the absurd bits featuring a sailor who complains that he's had a song stuck in his head for several decades. Try not to grin when Pierrot and Marianne "reenact Vietnam" for a group of American tourists. Pierrot is one of cinema's essential films, perhaps because it came at the precise moment when Godard hit his all-time peak. Made in 1965, it came during the eight-year period ('59-'67) during which the man made a jaw-dropping fifteen films. Some of them work better than others -- no wonder, for he was experimenting with all of cinema's possibilities -- but many are masterpieces, and Pierrot is the crown jewel. In many respects, Pierrot is flawless. In all others, it remains great art.

  • Just because he's deliberately awkward doesn't mean Godard can escape from all the criticism…


    "I've never been able to appreciate any of his films, nor even understand them... I find his films affected, intellectual, self-obsessed and, as cinema, without interest and frankly dull... I've always thought that he made films for critics." That's Ingmar Bergman openly expressing his opinion about Jean- Luc Godard's movies, his 'contempt'… to play on words. For a novice, this statement might sound awkward from a director whose movies aren't exactly devoid of intellectual material, except that Bergman and Godard don't play in the same league, the oeuvre of Bergman is far more monumental… and substantial. Bergman approached in cinematic terms and hypnotic cinematography the human condition with a constantly questioned involvement of God, a brainstorm that spanned four decades of cinematic creation. What Godard offered is a questioning of cinematic (and storytelling) conventions, which he's entitled to do after all, except that by doing so, he confines his movies into the very cinematic medium they're supposed to free themselves out. Godard strikes like the rebellious teenage son of cinema, trying so hard to be different that it actually conditions him. That's Godard's paradox; the man who denounced the traditional cinema is perhaps the most cinematic of all directors, always indulging to a trick, a false connection, a disenchanted voice-over, a sudden change of color and many outbursts of spontaneity within the script, to prove that he exists, that he wouldn't let any cinematic requirement affect his work, that this movie we're watching is a movie, and he's the director. Many shots are creatively done and "Pierrot le Fou", for all its craziness, is a beautifully shot movie, in fact, Godard IS a talented film-maker and some scenes are absolutely mesmerizing, I especially love the little dance between Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina, it captures that idle casualness, that nonchalant free-spirited charm of youth in the 60's. But for one masterstroke like this, you have countless moments where you're just wondering "what the hell am I watching?". I know Godard is being deliberately awkward, sometimes for the sake of a gag (the film can be labeled as a comedy to some degree) or because of the "forbidding is forbidden" philosophy. But just because you do something deliberately doesn't make it any immune to criticism, it's only fair to determine to which extent the freedom of the director affects the appreciation of the story. And that's a parameter you wouldn't ignore unless you're wrapped up in a huge ego. To Godard's defense, I don't know if he held himself in such high esteem or if the cohort of fans didn't simply build the colossal monument out of his "Breathless" making any movie he'd make a masterpiece. Well, in 1965, I guess French youth was in demand of newness, something that would echo their rebellious spirit, something post- modern, and yes, I concede that "Pierrot le Fou" is far more interesting than "The Sound of Music", but that doesn't say much. Indeed, isn't it the height of irony that the post-modern masterpiece is now stuck to its era and became the true embodiment of the "Nouvelle Vague"? To be honest, I've never been a fan of the New Wave in the first place, I thought the movies that predated its beginning like "Bob le Flambeur", "Elevator to the Gallows", "400 Blows" were more interesting than the revolution itself, but when you look retrospectively, the New Wave was only the occasion for self-absorbed directors to prove how 'different' and modern they were. Time did justice to the French popular cinema of the 50's and 60's, and people would rather watch "The Sicilian Clan", "The Wages of Fear" or any gangster flick with Gabin and Ventura than these pseudo-intellectual, flashy movies. "Pierrot le Fou" exemplifies how hard creativity could damage credibility, it's Godard at its most intrusive, and it's a shame because the story had elements to grab the viewers. It's one of these romances on the lam with Ferdinand, a man struck in typical bourgeois ennui takes the control of his life, and escapes from his condition with Anna Karina, Belmondo has fun playing Ferdinand aka Pierrot, a role that allowed him to make a fool of himself, but Godard want to steal the actors' thunder instead of letting the two of them run the show, he uses them as puppets to the very statements he wants to make, or non-statement. I maintain that the New Wave's greatest achievement was to inspire the New Hollywood generation and when you look at "Bonnie and Clyde", "Badlands" or even "Sugarland Express", you can measure the differences between French and American cinema, one school is entrapped in its obsession with originality, another is busy telling the stories, one rejects the classics, another explores them and makes something fresh of it. Finally, one feels like cinema, one gets so experimental it's boring. And believe me, I gave it a third chance, I put it with the commentary on, with Godard's number-one fan talking, maybe he'd tell me things I couldn't see but he actually confirmed my suspicion, in every shot, it was "Godard did", "Godard defied", "Godard changed". Godard is the real star of the film, "Pierrot le Fou" proves that he's an iconoclast, twisted and certainly talented director, he just forgot that the essence of a movie is to plunge you in a world, tell you a story and make you forget it's movie, except if the self-referential aspect is central to the plot. Not a chance with Godard, he epitomized what's wrong with the New Wave, self-awareness, self- obsession confining to intellectual masturbation, self-selfism I want to say. The film isn't boring for all that and possesses a few moments of genuine tenderness and creativity, but Godard, once again, is being his worst enemy and destroys the very edifice he's building, for one scene that works, you have five or six leaving you scratching your head or wondering if you won't going to watch "Predator" instead.

  • My favorite thing


    I was fifteen when I saw this movie for the first time. I didn't knew much about cinema at this time. I didn't knew much about art either, nor music, nor nothing. But I will never forget the shock it was for me to discover that movie. This was pure poetry, it was the first time in my life I ever saw blue color, red and yellow. You don't have to be intellectual to love this movie, just a free child. About some strange English subtitles I have on my DVD: At the end of the movie, we can hear in French the first lines of a poem by Arthur Rimbaud (L'Eternité, 1872): (Here I wanted to write the original french lines, but I'm not allowed. Curious world.) English subtitles: It's ours again / what is ? / eternity / No that's just the sea And the Sun It should have been: It is found again./ What is ? Eternity/ It is the sea/ Gone with the sun./ Minute 41. Ferdinand and Marianne are watching the man on the moon. English subtitles: F: - He thinks your legs and your breasts are very moving/ M: - Be quiet But I can hear in French: F: - I find your legs and your breasts very moving/ M: - Fcuk me

  • Godard le fou


    We often overlook the flaws of an artist's earlier work and then ignore their later, more perfect and mature pieces because they lack the daring boldness and innovation evident in the first ones. This is especially true in Godard's case. Breathless was new, fresh, fun and stylish; it was and still is considered a classic and his masterpiece. But as great as it is, Breathless is mostly about technical innovation and lacks the thematic depth of its creator's later work. Godard only brushes along subjects such as class division and the nature of film which, among many others, he will devour in films to come, in our case, Pierrot le fou. I said 'perfect and mature' but those are qualities not typical of Godard. His films are always 'a work in progress' and he's not afraid of taking risks. That's why his work is usually considered ugly, childish, pretentious etc. But one should always be open-minded and never expect the ordinary when going to a Godard film. To begin with, it's impossible to confine Pierrot le fou to a particular genre as it doesn't adhere to a single form or convention but is, instead, a blend of comedy, romance, political thriller, noir, musical and so on. It is a road picture that is able to follow a straight narrative as much as a car is able to follow a straight road with Ferdinand behind the wheel. The director confesses that when he began working on his movie "one week before, I was completely panicked, I didn't know what I should do. Based on the book, we had already established all the locations, we had hired the people... and I was wondering what we were going to do with it all." Godard has been criticized time and again for the purposeful disorientation of his audience. On top of a discontinuous plot he employs a wide array of 'sensorial techniques that serve to fragment the cinematic narrative.' Some of his trademark stylistic devices, including loud colors, obtrusive voice overs, rapid jump shots, out of sync sound etc. along with the abrupt interchanges between tones (e.g. comic – serious) constitute for a greater alienation of the viewer. The film opens with the voice of Ferdinand reading a passage, "Velázquez, past the age of fifty, no longer painted specific objects. He drifted around things like the air, like twilight, catching unawares in the shimmering shadows the nuances of color that he transformed into the invisible core of his silent symphony". Similarly, Godard is on a quest for another kind of cinematic art, one that isn't concerned with visual presentation of objects and characters as much as with "what lies in between people: space, sound and color." With Pierrot le fou, Godard wanted to break away from conventional cinema's chains, go beyond any forms and formulas and attain something out of the ordinary clichè. At one point in the movie Ferdinand is at a social gathering and meets an American director. When asked for the definition of cinema, he responds: "A film is like a battleground. It's love, hate, action, violence, and death. In one word: emotions." This explains precisely what Godard sought to achieve. He wanted to transfer emotions directly onto the viewer - not through actors and their characters but by means of style. Abandoning all conventional drama and substituting it with flickering prime colors, godlike voice overs, eerie music etc. in the ultimate search for an instant, sublime surge of feelings was a chance Godard was willing to take. He considered this destruction of old rules and creation of new as something natural and necessary. As he himself asserts, "literary critics often praise works like Ulysses or Endgame because they exhaust a certain genre, they close the doors on it. But in the cinema we are always praising works which open doors." Godard has created a film in the free form. A film deprived of structure. One that does not make any promises to the viewer but the assertion that love is beyond human control. Just like with love, nothing makes linear sense and every moment is more important than the last. Pierrot le fou is not an easy film to take in. It places great demands on its audience. Some might find them overwhelming, not worth the effort. But others, those that manage to let go and keep going forward into Godard's chaotic but passionate exploration of reality, might just enjoy the ride.


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