PIERROT LE FOU (1965)
A film by Jean Luc Goddard.
Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani.
Pierrot escapes his boring society and travels from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea with Marianne, a girl chased by hit-men from Algeria. They lead an unorthodox life, always on the run.
There is not too many people who likes Goddard’s film because they make no sense. But there is also a lot of people who will like this one. Pierrot le Fou was made in 1966 but only released in the United States in 1969. It seems to be a gangster picture: Jean-Paul Belmondo leaves his wife and goes to live with his former girlfriend, Anna Karina. She has apparently killed a man. They go on the lam in a stolen car, wind up on a deserted island, play the Robinson Crusoe bit for awhile, and then go back to the mainland to face the music. But Godard never sticks closely enough to this plot to make it important. He will have a scene that is perfectly conventional, like a scene in a Hollywood gangster movie. But it doesn’t come out of anything or lead into anything. There is a scene in the movie where Belmondo wakes up in Anna Karina’s apartment. She is in the kitchen. He is in bed, smoking (a reference, if you will, to “Breathless” (1960)). The camera follows her into the bedroom and back to the kitchen. She sings a song to him. A piano supplies a modest background. It is one of the most charming musical scenes in recent movies. She continues to sing, and goes back to the kitchen. In passing, the camera notes a dead body. It is just there. Nothing is made of it, but its presence changes the tone of the scene. Godard goes into a series of three close-ups: of her, of him, of her again. These shots cannot quite be described, but watch the movement of the actors’ eyes. Instead of moving his camera, Godard moves Belmondo’s eyes so that we “see” Karina moving. And we know she is going past the body again. This is an extraordinarily complex, effective scene: Not that it means anything, but that it is something. It is a feeling, a mood. there this is a great film from Goddard. A must see.