1965 Jean-Luc Godard
“ When a film creates a world and characters that you are compelled to visit again and again…that is a Classic Movie”
Read an article on a website ( which one has escaped me over time) which asked several famous Critics, Actors, and Directors the question…
What makes it a Classic Film?
The answers were interesting. Some were not well thought out. Some came close to defining it, even dancing around the core thought.
Then I read the quote above.
HE NAILED IT!!!
Does this not apply to every movie we deem as Classic? And what makes a film a classic is so personal.
One persons compelling is another persons “Porkies”
Which brings be to the movie. “Pierrot Le Fou”
Started my Godard experience with “Aphaville” a movie that I had to watch twice to start to appreciate. The same applies here.
This may be the ultimate road picture. Ferdinard is bored. Married with a family, he comes home from a party and discovers that the babysitter is a past lover. He ditches everything and runs away with her. As it turns out, she is involved in some way with a criminal element that is after her. And when a body turns up dead, they hit the road.
The first thing that appeals to me with this film is… well … One of the 5 most beautiful actresses to grace a screen .. Anna Karina..
Once married to Godard, when he finally got around to making the film, he was divorced from her. Was the character changed to point out what he felt were her own weaknesses?. The character is very manipulative. In one scene she answers a question of whether she would ever leave the Ferdinard character. She looks right into the camera …and says “no”. Haunting. Did we see sarcasm in her eyes as she looked at Godard? Or was that contempt for putting the line in.
Then there is Jean-Paul Belmondo. The story goes that Godard wanted Richard Burton to play the role. Which would have fit the original story so much more as it involved an older man with a young woman. And I would have loved to see Burton in this role. But we get Belmondo. I think he plays the detached and rudderless character that walks away from his wife and family and goes away with the babysitter. It just isn’t the “younger babysitter” with him in the role. As he does not pass for “over 50” as the story dictates. But he plays the character well as one that wants to get away and lead a simpler life without worries. The scenes at the beach reading without a care in the world. But her jarring “what will I do what will I do” bring him back to reality and the jarring climax to come
For Marianne has a past and a present that keeps following them everywhere. Maybe its her penchant for murder, As the bodies turn up Ferdinand just glides thru as if it was a dirty dish left behind after eating. He becomes so detached as if he wants nothing to affect the world he has created by running away. And is this Godard saying that leaving a wife for a younger woman brings perils? Or is he showing leaving a wife for Karina is the peril as he experienced.
Some great scenes. The party where everyone sounds like they walked out of a commercial. Sounding totally canned. Boring. Is this how life sounded to him that caused him to run?
The Eating of a giant piece of cheese. As if this is normal. Still “digesting” the meaning.
Have to sit one time and count how many times she calls him Pierrot and he then corrects her as to what his name is.
Convoluted logic. That’s Logic that circles back upon itself rendering it illogical.
Case in Point. ” I’m glad I don’t like spinach, as then I would eat it, and I cannot stand the stuff”
Great line. “ Don’t start that again”
“ I’m not starting again…its a continuance”
While showing an advertisement for new women’s underware, he muses, “First there was Greek Civilization, then there was the Renaissance, and now we are entering the Age of the Ass”
So much going on here. I’m sure there is more to be discovered upon revisiting.
When a film creates a world and characters that you are compelled to visit again and again…that is a Classic Movie