Paul is young, just demobbed from national service in the French Army, and dishillusioned with civilian life. As his girlfriend builds herself a career as a pop singer, Paul becomes more ... See full summary »
During the Algerian war for independence from France, a young Frenchman living in Geneva who belongs to a right-wing terrorist group and a young woman who belongs to a left-wing terrorist ... See full summary »
A supposedly idyllic weekend trip to the countryside turns into a never-ending nightmare of traffic jams, revolution, cannibalism and murder as French bourgeois society starts to collapse ... See full summary »
Set in the near future, Paula, a leftist writer, goes from Paris to the French town of Atlantic-Cité when she learns of the death of a former colleague and lover, Richard P. Is she there to... See full summary »
At the end of Godard's "Band of Outsiders" (1964), it's promised that the next film will be the further adventures of Franz and Odile in South America, in Cinemascope and color. Well, maybe they didn't get as far as South America, but "Pierrot le Fou" begins with Anna Karina dressed in her school girl outfit (with matching braided buns) from "Band of Outsiders": this film gets as far as the Riviera, but it is in Cinemascope and color, as Ferdinand and Marianne try to escape from the trappings of the bourgeoise world (as exemplified by the cocktail party, in which Ferdinand meets the American director Samuel Fuller, who tells him "What is Cinema?"). For Godard, "Pierrot le Fou" represented an important milestone in his career: in it, he would document the end of his relationship with Anna Karina. It is the most agonizingly romantic of his films: there are constant reminders as the narration insists on the ultimate mystery, the inability of one person to know another (there is the moment when Anna Karina is seen in close-up, as the narrator wonders when she says it's a nice day, does she really mean it's a nice day?), and the desolation of romantic desire.
Yet the brilliant color, the rapid rhythms, even the song-and-dance numbers (there are three) color the unhappiness, making this a vibrant tragicomedy. The film veers between exuberance and exhaustion, yet for all its free-wheeling formal invention, this is one of Godard's most emotionally direct films, a piercing lament on the perils of love.
(Godard would make two more films with Karina, the short "Anticipation", and "Made in USA", both films far more "formal" and less emotionally engaged; the end of the Godard-Karina marriage, the subtext of "Pierrot le Fou", would also inspire Jacques Rivette's "L'Amour Fou".)
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