Pierrot Le Fou

Written by Joe D on August 12th, 2007

They struck a brand spanking new 35mm print of Jean Luc Godard’s Pierrot Le Fou and are screening it in a limited release. I went to check it out Friday night. What a wild and wacky flick! I’ve got to say right here and now it’s not for everybody. It is so far out that a few people left during the screening and I overheard an 80 year old woman sitting in front of me say “Well , that wasn’t what I expected.” OK, let’s begin… Anna Karina is amazing, beautiful, talented, she even sings! She is one of the most original forces ever captured on celluloid.

That Rare and Radiant Maiden Whom the Angels call Karina

Jean Paul Belmondo is cool, laconic, iconic, handsome , and physically superb. He can move like a cat, I’ve seen him do his own stunts in movies and he’s incredible. These two are the stars of this crazy film (fou means mad or crazy).

My Name Is Ferdinand

Godard deconstructs conventional filmmaking in his pursuit of pure “Cinema”. There are moments where you know nothing is real yet a fragment of music kicks in, the beautiful light, the faces of the actors, move you emotionally. The story is crazy , unbeliveable , a midget found with a scissors stuck in the back of his neck, people quoting from commercials , it’s as if Godard is doing everything in his power to make this movie unreal , uninvolving and then Presto! like a magician he pulls a rabbit out of his hat and a beautiful haunting moment, melancholy as a lost love. It’s as if Godard is an alien from another planet. He lands here and decides to make films , his concerns are not like anyone else’s. He wants to make films that are sucessful, please the masses , sell tickets , but he must be true to his vision. From what I understand Godard felt everything in Cinema that possibly could be said had already been done. This film renewed his hope, his creative spark. He felt he was on to something new.

Tinted glasses, cigarette, Celluloid
The things that are important to him are things that occur in other peoples films by accident. The unknowable , the unseen , the indescribable. The reality of a movie camera recording a certain human being at a certain point in Time, History, Culture. It’s almost as if he communicates in the darkness between the frames of film when the shutter is closed. I personally find some of his other films more entertaining, like A Bande Apart, or A Woman Is A Woman. They have equal measures of artistic integrity and entertainment, at least for me. Pierrot Le Fou has a sort of melancholy about it, even in it’s funniest moments, it’s all about doomed love. A stranger tells a funny story to Belmondo on a pier, it’s about his love affairs and how they didn’t work out. I understand Godard and Karina were in the process of splitting up while this film was being made , you can sense it. As I watched it I became aware of another phenomena, Pierrot Le Fou is about everything. It will mean something different to everyone that watches it.

P.S. It also features a cameo by Sam Fuller in which he gives his famous definition of Cinema: “Film is like a battleground. Love, hate, action, violence, death. In one word…emotion.”