Pierrot le Fou (15)

Film

Drama

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue May 19 2009

Jean-Paul Belmondo mooches up to Samuel Fuller at a cocktail party and, naturally, asks him his thoughts on cinema. Fuller replies: ‘Film is like a battleground. Love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In one word: Emotions.’ His succinct and, let’s be honest, utterly hip rejoinder fluently captures what we’re about to undergo with Godard’s mischievous, free-associative tenth film, ‘Pierrot le Fou’, re-released here in a restored print as part of the BFI’s continuing Nouvelle Vague season.

The party ends and we’re launched into the lunatic orbit of Belmondo’s Ferdinand and Anna Karina’s Marianne: he a rakish, unemployed adman choking on consumerist jargon and bourgeois conformity, she a happy-clappy coquette with unspecified links to an underground military faction. Each is an impulsive, alienated, despairing soul who finds solace in the other’s desire for chaos and withdrawal. They flee Paris for the south of France in a hail of gunfire and Gauloises. They converse in disjointed, inhumanly droll patter, break  into song, duff up gas station attendants and eagerly concoct a new civilisation on a deserted beach. Then, as their relationship begins to fray, it all goes horribly wrong…

Basing his film ever so loosely on Lionel White’s pulp crime novel ‘Obsession’, Godard inventively drapes genre pastiche, literary references, flash inserts and cheeky agitprop over a robust ‘Bonnie and Clyde’-like framework to deliver a film which, in spirit, feels like both the sum total of his past work and an exhilarating sign of things to come. It’s a wild-eyed, everything-in-the-pot cross-processing of artistic, cinematic, political and personal concerns, where the story stutters, splinters and infuriates its way to an explosive finale. Taken as a whole, we’re right back to that word again: emotions.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri May 22, 2009

Duration:

110 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5
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Peter Ludbrook

I've been attending the current BFI restrospective devoted to the 'New Wave' and, sad to say, time has not been kind to some of the films including this one. What once seemed so daring, freewheeling and iconoclastic now seems infantile and pretentious. The first hour is mildly amusing but after that it's downhill all the way. The characters barely exist so that it's impossible to feel any empathy. We are told that Godard was very angry about Vietnam yet the Vietnam sequence is so crass it's embarrasing to watch. It was clear by the end that many of us were baffled by the plot but by that point I didn't care. I was just glad it was over. I give it 2 stars for Coutard's fabulous photography and the quality of the restored print.

Technoguy

Pierre le fou It’s a postcard of post-modern obsessions depicting a world of transient feelings evoked by youth to nature,love,art,gangster films,literature,advertising,politics, philosophy and poetry. Marianne and Ferdinand are on the run towards the sun and sea and sands of the south of France.There is no plot, there is image and sensation,singing and spontaneity.Jean luc carries his camera like a gun and shoots the changing scenes wherever the two lead him. Beautiful primary colours and CINEMASCOPE with a Brechtian deconstruction, actors addressing the camera or completing each others sentences or breaking into song and dance or quoting from old movies.The plot is silly and the characters do not develop. There are elements of Breathless and Le Mepris. If Rimbaud had used a camera instead of verse this may have been a creation of his.Godard is very much the punk revolutionary mocking the movies while he’s paying it homage. There is an extraordinary freshness and vitality and topicality,attacking the Vietnam and Algerian war.Marianne describes her feelings about the loss of’115 geurillas’ whom we are told nothing about.Anna Karenin is like the gangsters moll and the femme fatale,chased by Algerian gun-runners after the money and guns. Belmondo playing the double roll of Ferdinand/Pierre le fou will kill her and her lover,Fred then blow up himself.Then their dialogue continues in death: ‘Eternity?No,it’s just the sun and sea.’A quotation from Rimbaud’s’L’Eternite’

Technoguy

Pierre le fou It’s a postcard of post-modern obsessions depicting a world of transient feelings evoked by youth to nature,love,art,gangster films,literature,advertising,politics, philosophy and poetry. Marianne and Ferdinand are on the run towards the sun and sea and sands of the south of France.There is no plot, there is image and sensation,singing and spontaneity.Jean luc carries his camera like a gun and shoots the changing scenes wherever the two lead him. Beautiful primary colours and CINEMASCOPE with a Brechtian deconstruction, actors addressing the camera or completing each others sentences or breaking into song and dance or quoting from old movies.The plot is silly and the characters do not develop. There are elements of Breathless and Le Mepris. If Rimbaud had used a camera instead of verse this may have been a creation of his.Godard is very much the punk revolutionary mocking the movies while he’s paying it homage. There is an extraordinary freshness and vitality and topicality,attacking the Vietnam and Algerian war.Marianne describes her feelings about the loss of’115 geurillas’ whom we are told nothing about.Anna Karenin is like the gangsters moll and the femme fatale,chased by Algerian gun-runners after the money and guns. Belmondo playing the double roll of Ferdinand/Pierre le fou will kill her and her lover,Fred then blow up himself.Then their dialogue continues in death: ‘Eternity?No,it’s just the sun and sea.’A quotation from Rimbaud’s’L’Eternite’