Review: ‘Pierrot le Fou’

Insider jokes, the use of objects to comment on a situation, and a mingling of the serious and comic - Jean-Luc Godard uses all of these devices here but the result is repetitive and precious rather than inventive and fresh.

Insider jokes, the use of objects to comment on a situation, and a mingling of the serious and comic – Jean-Luc Godard uses all of these devices here but the result is repetitive and precious rather than inventive and fresh.

A bored young man (Jean-Paul Belmondo) married to a rich woman one night goes off with the baby sitter (Anna Karina) after a boring party. A dead man is found in her flat and they are soon on the run. After an idyllic time at the seashore, they get bored and hit the road and live by stealing, only to run into friends of hers.

Two gangs, repping Arab gun-runners and perhaps Israeli forces, fight it out and he gets embroiled. A cache of money is taken by the girl, who runs off with it and her socalled brother.

There is brilliant use of color in spots to mark the mood. There are also some seemingly spontaneous scenes of the two living off the land that are topflight Godard. But there is too much padding, and interspersed songs and fabricated scenes make up a compendium of all his stylistic tricks rather than a more coherent offbeater. [Pic is based on Lionel White’s novel Obsession.]

Belmondo has the usual rugged verve as the bored, but dynamic, young man. Karina is delightful as an unpredictable, beguiling but finally deadly female.

Pierrot le Fou

France - Italy

Production

Rome Paris/SNCC. Director Jean-Luc Godard; Producer Georges de Beauregard; Screenplay Jean-Luc Godard; Camera Raoul Coutard; Editor Francoise Colin; Music Antoine Duhamel; Art Director [Pierre Guffroy]

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Jean-Paul Belmondo Anna Karina Dirk Sanders Raymond Devos Graziella Galvani Roger Dutoit
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