Pierrot le fou (1965)
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I enjoy experimentation in film; for instance I thought Breathless was pretty fascinating. But here I found myself yearning for a more traditional narrative. It's a gorgeously shot movie, for sure, which makes the fact that I didn't love it all the more frustrating. Godard seems more interested in talking about movies than actually making one. It's like he has all these theories and ideas and opinions about literature and art and cinema, but he doesn't know how to adequately channel them. Here he outputs his ideas through two characters who seem disinterested in the movie they're in. The plot comes as an after thought, which is fine by me in theory, but here there's nothing much left but vacuous lamentations, quotes from books, and some pretty cinematography. Stuff happens, but there's no cohesion throughout any of it, either narratively or thematically. This is a film that's way less than the sum of its parts.
Pierrot Le Fou contains all the stylistic elements that one loves about Godard’s films even if he/she cannot comprehend or make sense of the dialogue or events taking place. Crazy as it is, you always come out of Godard’s films feeling like you experienced what Alice experiences in Wonderland; A long spiraling loop of beautiful shots and utter brilliance. With a lot of similarities between Pierrot Le Fou and Godard’s other masterpiece The Weekend, I can’t help but prefer Pierrot because of Karina and Belmondo and what they bring out in both their characters.
The cinematography and direction of the film are beautiful along with the obvious color motifs that take over a number of scenes, which are Red, White and Blue. Red like the first car they drive in the film, White is always in the background or is the color of the walls and Blue like when Belmondo paints his face at the end of the film. Pierrot Le Fou can only be appreciated by those who appreciate beauty because everything about it from colors to dialogue is marvelous with the element of mystique. The best way to watch Pierrot Le Fou is not to try to make sense of it.
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In 15 official lists
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This movie ranks #5 in Time Out's The 100 Best French Films
This movie ranks #29 in Quentin Tarantino's Coolest Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #48 in Cahiers du Cinéma's 100 Films for an Ideal Cinematheque
This movie ranks #56 in Taschen's 100 All-Time Favorite Movies
This movie ranks #57 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
This movie ranks #64 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #85 in Time Out's The 100 Best Romantic Films
This movie ranks #175 in Harvard's Suggested Film Viewing: Narrative Films
This movie ranks #241 in 366 Weird Movies
This movie ranks #314 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
This movie ranks #438 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #441 in Cahiers du Cinéma's Annual Top 10 Lists
This movie ranks #445 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #663 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #718 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life