Pierrot le Fou (1965) is arguably the masterpiece of Jean-Luc Godard’s
glorious first period, that extraordinary burst of creativity that extends from his landmark debut Breathless to the political films of the late sixties. In recounting the whirlwind romance between wealthy Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and his babysitter Marianne (Anna Karina), followed by their escape to the south of France with gangsters on their trail, Godard walks the thin line between sixties liberation and nihilism. Indeed, Pierrot le Fou is full of Godardian dialectic: it is his sunniest film, but possibly his darkest, his most romantic, yet also his most disillusioned, a discombobulating combination of pop sensibility, boy’s own adventure, and trenchant critique of decadent European society and American intervention in Southeast Asia. This is a film of legendary moments—tough-guy director Samuel Fuller telling Ferdinand that, “film is a battleground. Love, hate, violence, action, death. In one word, emotions”; Marianne turning her seaside indolence into musical comedy by coming up with the charming song “Ma Ligne de Chance”; and Ferdinand painting his face blue—but what is most striking is its constant freshness, its ability to surprise and seduce no matter how many times you’ve watched it. A feast of primary colors, Pierrot le Fou is simply one of the greatest films ever made, the quintessence of cinema’s pleasures and challenges.
Blu-ray, DCP, DVD
$350 Blu-ray and DVD