Starring: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Running Time: 110 mins
Pierrot Le Fou is a French film about a middle-aged man, bored with his life, who runs away to the French Riviera with a young woman on the run.
Much like his earlier classic, Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard puts together a wonderfully weird but beautifully stylish crime/romance drama with Pierrot Le Fou. With two great central performances, a free-spirited vibe that matches the story, and some really brilliant directing and cinematography, I had a really good time with this film.
That’s the one thing that I like about this, is that, whilst you can appreciate from a higher artistic point of view, this is a film that’s purely entertaining on a simple level. The story about the two lovers on the run gets going almost immediately, and never lets up throughout. There’s romance, there’s mystery and there’s deception in their relationship, and that makes this a thoroughly enjoyable film to follow along from start to finish.
The other impressive thing about the story is that it really works well with the atmosphere that Godard is trying to create. Although it may seem wrong at first, the relationship that develops between the two leads feels very natural and free-spirited, and that notion comes into play with Godard’s directing.
Whilst it may seem at first as if this is going to be a simple Bonnie And Clyde-esque crime romance, Godard puts all sorts of bizarre nuggets throughout the film to make it deviate from any given formula, and just be as off-beat as possible. So, that includes numerous fourth wall breaks, often mind-bending non-linear narration, and even showing a bit of Breathless right in the middle of the film. Why? Because he can, and it really helps to make this film feel all the more unrestricted and relaxed.
My favourite thing about this film by far, however, is its colour palette. I’m a sucker for the bright primary colours of so many films (read any review of a Stanley Donen film), but Pierrot Le Fou really uses those colours to its advantage. For one, they’re simply brilliant to look at, and it makes for a really pleasant and enjoyable viewing experience, but it also gives it a pop arty sort of atmosphere, which I really enjoyed.
Finally, the two lead performances here are brilliant. Apart from the fact that Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina have such bizarrely perfect chemistry, despite their characters’ many ups and downs, they both bring so much intrigue and depth to their characters. Belmondo makes the bored middle-aged man both likeable and easy to sympathise with, whilst Karina makes the young woman on the one hand stylish and attractive, but on the other subtly untrustworthy, which makes her fascinating to watch throughout.
Overall, I really liked Pierrot Le Fou. With amazing directing and cinematography that makes it such an enjoyable watch, this is a film with brains, with an intriguing and still entertaining story, as well as two great performances by the lead actors, and that’s why it gets a 7.9 from me.