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Band of Outsiders (The Criterion Collection) [Import]

Anna Karina , Claude Brasseur , Jean-Luc Godard    Unrated   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Band of Outsiders (The Criterion Collection) [Import] + Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Description


Described by its maker, Jean-Luc Godard, as "Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka," this 1964 film noir stars Anna Karina as a naive woman who takes up with couple of would-be bad guys (Claude Brasseur, Sami Frey) in a disastrous effort to rob her aunt of a fortune. Along the way, the motley group joins the Godardian (and Hollywood gangster) tradition of characters who walk a line between reality and invention, in this case distracting themselves by running around the Louvre, taking a stab at learning English, stumbling through some dance steps, and reenacting the death of Billy the Kid. A uniquely spontaneous work in Godard's canon, Band of Outsiders also continues the Brechtian strain in the director's merged relationship with Karina, his then-wife and artistic muse. Yet it is also more buoyantly unpredictable in its sense of romantic doom than any of the director's movies since his seminal debut, Breathless (also a gangster film, not coincidentally). --Tom Keogh

Product Description

Two restless young men (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of their desire (Anna Karina) to help them commit a robbery--in her own home. French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard takes to the streets of Paris to re-imagine the gangster genre, spinning an audacious yarn that's at once sentimental and insouciant, romantic and melancholy

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And Action... Jan. 18 2004
Jean-Luc Godard, one of the French New Wave Cinema pioneers, bends and breaks the traditional rules of cinema in Band of Outsiders as he sends forth his vision. The vision is of two men and a woman planning a robbery of a large sum of money. The planning itself is a fruitless accomplishment as the three characters diverge cognitively, and instead end up entertaining their thoughts and egos. Nevertheless, they are certain about setting their plan into action. Occasionally, it seems as if Godard has lost it, but there is always a designed thought behind each action and scene. Throughout the film Godard uses quotes from books, films, and music of his choosing, which colors the personalities of the characters. These characters are what creates the cinematic experience together with Godard's rebellious directing and the groundbreaking cinematography. In the end, this film is one of many that adds to the plethora of progressive cinematic art that film enthusiasts can enjoy today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dancing the Madison in glorious black and white! Jan. 8 2003
If there are any films that offer a wonderful sense of love for the cinema, they are the films of Jean-Luc Godard. But, as he explains in a brief interview from 1964 that is included with this fine DVD, he was also against film; that is, against the conventions and rules that predominated French cinema. So he introduced unconventional methods of telling stories and making movies and decided to include elements that films typically left out. "Band of Outsiders" is a playful, unconventional, mesmerizing tale of small-time gangsters and young love set in 1960s Paris. Its source material runs the gamut from the pulp crime novel on which it is based to the American B-movies and film noir that inspired its look. It's Godard's best love letter to Paris since "Breathless," and also one of the last of his true New Wave films.
The story might be simple enough: Arthur and Franz enlist the help of the young, beautiful Odile to stage a robbery. But if the story is simple, everything else around it is not. Here we find allusions and homages to Arthur Rimbaud (the poet whom one of the characters is named after), Franz Kafka, film composer Michel Legrand, "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, American cartoons, Jack London, Charlie Chaplin, Andre Breton, Andre Malraux, and numerous others. That's Godard doing his thing, and even if we miss those allusions, there's so much more to be cherished: the famous minute of silence, the running visit through the Louvre, the dance scene, the glorious closeups of Anna Karina, riding on the underground metro, the trio driving through the streets of Paris.
"Band of Outsiders" is playful, wondrous, hilarious, breezy, but at the same time melancholic, dark in its undertones.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "ALICE IN WONDERLAND MEETS KAFKA" Jan. 30 2003
Jean-Luc Godard is perhaps best known as the most influential of the French New Wave filmmakers. Themes of social realism were wedded to a naturalistic, seemingly spontaneous, hand-held cinematography with jump cuts and an intimate documentary style.
1964's BAND OF OUTSIDERS has been described by Godard as "Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka." This sentimental, noirish story is about a gullible woman who takes up with couple of would-be bad guys in an ill-fated effort to rob her own home of her aunt's fortune. (The primary relationship in the story may have been the inspiration behind the recent, overlooked and very funny, Bandits.)
Band of Outsiders is weirdly joyous and always surprising with a sense of romantic doom that recalls his most famous gangster romance, Breathless (A Bout de Souffle, 1959).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Unleashes A Classic DVD May 9 2003
This is a CLASSIC that should be owned by EVERY person who owns a DVD player. But that is not going to happen any time soon. Godard$B!G(Bs greatest movie comes back to life better than ever through the Criterion Collection, with possibly their best package.
Lots of extras are incredibly insightful, including the booklet (a feature that many studios do not think of as a $B!F(Bsupplement$B!G(B). Godard and everyone else that worked on this movie should be proud the way this has been preserved for future generations. This IS Nouvelle Vague, a movie that reinvented the medium, but lost in the shuffle over the years.
And with an incredibly low list price for a Criterion release, this DVD should not stay on store shelves. If you buy or rent it, you will love it. Guaranteed
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4.0 out of 5 stars QUENTIN TERANTINO'S INSPIRATION? Nov. 21 2003
It's easy to see why Quentin Terantino took the name of his film company (A Band Apart) from the French title of Jean Luc Godard's BAND OF OUTSIDERS (Criterion). A naive girl enamored of two would be gangsters joins them in a robbery of her aunt's home. There's lots of idiosyncratic small talk, film and literary references, an extended dance scene, some unexpected violence and a fatalistic romantic ending. Sound familiar?
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