This is probably my second, wait, make that my first favorite film by the great Jean-Luc Godard. Sadly, I have to watch it on YouTube tonight. I have A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) on DVD, but even this one is hard to find these days. In lieu of paying to stream or download or torrent or whatever you prefer, here’s a quick synopsis via Wikipedia…
“Pierrot le Fou (pronounced: [pjɛʁo lə fu], French for “Pierrot the madman”) is a 1965 French film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, starring Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo. The film is based on the 1962 novel,Obsession, by Lionel White. It was Jean-Luc Godard‘s tenth feature film, released between Alphaville and Masculin, féminin. The film was the 15th highest grossing film of the year with a total of 1,310,580 admissions in France. The film was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 38th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.”
TL;Dr (Spoiler Alert):
“Ferdinand Griffon (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is unhappily married and has been recently fired from his job at a TV broadcasting company. After attending a mindless party full of shallow discussions in Paris, he feels a need to escape and decides to run away with his baby-sitter, an ex-girlfriend, Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), leaving his wife and children and bourgeois lifestyle. Following Marianne into her apartment and finding a corpse, Ferdinand soon discovers that Marianne is being chased by OAS gangsters, two of whom they barely escape.
Marianne and “Pierrot” – the unwelcome nickname meaning “sad clown,” which Marianne gives to Ferdinand during their time together – go on a traveling crime spree from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea in the dead man’s car. They lead an unorthodox life, always on the run. Settling down in the French Riviera after having burnt the dead man’s car (full of money) and sunk a second car into the Mediterranean Sea, their relationship becomes strained. Griffon ends up reading books, philosophizing and writing in his diary. The baby-sitter becomes bored of the Robert Louis Stevenson-ness of their living situation and insists they return to town, where in a night club they meet one of their pursuers. The gangsters waterboard Pierrot and depart. In the confusion, Marianne and Ferdinand are separated, with her traveling in search of Pierrot and him settling in Toulon.
After their eventual reunion, Renoir uses Griffon to get a suitcase full of money before running away with her real boyfriend, Fred (Dirk Sanders), to whom she had previously referred as her brother. Pierrot shoots Marianne and her boyfriend, and then paints his face blue and decides to blow himself up by tying sticks of red and yellow dynamite to his head. Regretting his decision at the last second, he tries to extinguish the fuse, but, due to the dynamite obstructing his vision, fails and is blown up.”
Yup. The main character paints his face blue, wraps dynamite around his head and lights the fuse. The end. IMO This movie kicks ass, but I’m an old French film buff. I think I like it more than Breathless because his storytelling seems more focused, but it’s weird as hell. Also in color. Additionally, Anna Karina’s and Belmondo’s style er, fashion is super cool. Anyway, It’s starting to rain so I think I’ll get it started. Happy Sunday.
Source: Wikipedia article and YouTube or whatever.