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  • Pierrot Le Fou (The Criterion Collection)
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Pierrot Le Fou (The Criterion Collection)

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Product Details

  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Release Date: Feb. 19 2008
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZM1MIM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,550 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), and leaves the bourgeoisie behind. Yet this is no normal road trip: genius auteur Jean-Luc Godard's tenth feature in six years is a stylish mash-up of consumerist satire, politics, and comic-book aesthetics, as well as a violent, zigzag tale of, as Godard called them, "the last romantic couple." With blissful color imagery by cinematographer Raoul Coutard and Belmondo and Karina at their most animated, Pierrot le fou is one of the high points of the French new wave, and was Godard's last frolic before he moved ever further into radical cinema.

Jean-Luc Godard has been called the most self-conscious, the most realistic, and the most modern of filmmakers. To his appreciators this means he owns up to the fact that a movie is a movie, that at any moment in one of his films you know you're watching a film by Jean-Luc Godard. His films are self-aware in a way that films never were before him. Pierrot le Fou achieves a rare spontaneity and naturalness, largely due to the presence of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina, but also because of Godard's willingness to let go of any pretense to an illusionary or mimetic style, so-called "realism." What story there is has Pierrot (Belmondo) escaping from his boring life along with Marianne Renoir (Karina), who is chased by gangsters. But this is just an excuse to film a kind of essay to lost love, a poem to Karina that is delightful. If "Pierrot goes wild," then so does Godard, with Belmondo standing in for him in his pursuit of and journey with Karina. Godard is not for everyone, admittedly, but for those with the wherewithal to enjoy his films, they are receiving new life on DVD. Whatever coterie taste survives today has been distributed in multiple across the Internet and via the agency of video rental bins, perhaps all the more potent for that reach. Let's hope so. --Jim Gay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mackjay on March 25 2003
Format: DVD
If you have only seen PIERROT on VHS/Pan & Scan, the letterboxed version here is automatically welcome. In terms of picture quality, it just may be possible that this is how the film was meant to look: a little rough in spots and with a few idiosyncrasies in the sound. Godard's film is deliberately self-aware as a 'put-together' work and is probably not meant to be conventionally beautiful. Nonetheless, several sequences are striking and aethetically pleasing.
Since the packaging currently available is different from a previous DVD incarnation, could it be possible that the disc represents a newer, improved mastering? This is suggested only because to this viewer, the film looks mostly terrific. The sound is another story: mastered at a low-level, it does not come across as well as might be expected. As for the walkie-talkie scenes, they are surely meant to sound the way they do.
4 stars as a rating, because there are no trailers or extras worth mentioning.
An acceptable, if not ideal, DVD of a one-of-a-kind film experience
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Nov. 25 1999
Format: VHS Tape
First off, let me say that this film is not for everybody. If you love foreign cinema, then you should love this. It is classic Godard. His use of color and composition is outstanding. This was the first Godard film I saw in color and I was amazed by it. There is a nice cameo by director Sam Fuller. Those who are Godard fans must watch this. You will not be let down.
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Format: DVD
What I love about the two Godard/Belmondo films (Breathless & Pierrot Le Fou) is the marriage of the sacred and profane, the comic and the tragic, the high and the low. Only true masters achieve a world view that encompasses so much of life. Pierrot Le Fou is to the late sixties what Breathless was to the early sixties. If Breathless contains just the rumblings of unrest then Pierrot Le Fou is an open revolt. In Breathless Belmondo played at being Bogart and he and Jean Seberg just played at being alive. Breathless was Godard's homage to gangster films and American spontaneity, compared to Pierrot Le Fou however it was a very tamely structured film. In Pierrot Le Fou all semblance of structure is destroyed; Godard picks up and discards genres as quickly as Belmondo picks up and discards books. Godard and Belmondo make a perfect team; Godard is the overly intellectual auteur and Belmondo the oafish clownish ham but together they seem to comprise one complete individual--one behind the camera and one in front of it. Anna Karina is perfect just being Anna Karina. She doesn't have to do much but be her charming and pretty self--everything seems to come too easy for her and so she is always bored and in need of change. On one level the film traces a love story from its inception to its demise but on another level its about how pervasive consumer culture has become. Consumerism affects every aspect of these characters lives. Belmondo consumes culture-- he reads books at an alarming rate, and he needs a constant supply of new books to keep him happy. And Karina consumes lovers--the first time we see her there is an unidentified male corpse in her room(an old lover that she has grown bored with and disposed of). Eventually she will dispose of Belmondo too.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
I first viewed this great work with Jose Fernandez, who was delivering a series of lectures here in Southern California, where he alleged that many film directors use archive footage of Popitekus for dermatophytic purposes. He highly recommended "Pierrot le Fou" as a key example of a director who strives to accomplish just the opposite. Jean Luc Godard presents a dithyrambic forage that successfully quenches any student's thirst for a portrait of jaspoid intrusion, brimful with jessant heraldry, yet not lacking in brilliant Manichean humor.
Don't get me wrong; Jean Luc-Godard is no René Cardonas. This bold attempt at cinematic brilliance merely mimics the magasame visions that Cardonas acheived from the late 1950s through 1965. While I must praise Godard for presenting a message in which the main protaganist strives for something greater than his mundane existence, certain portions of the film bear the propensity to contrive the real message. By throwing in the melodramatic suggestion of gangsters attempting to thwart the heroine's means, the thesis becomes overstated. I find it sad to think that perhaps Godard, deep inside, feels he lacks what great directors like René Cardonas and Doris Wishman possess. This film is well worth purchasing until the films of the late Cardonas become available on DVD. In the meantime, "Pierrot le Fou" is worth your time.
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By Miko on Nov. 4 2000
Format: DVD
My exposure to Godard films were through VHS tapes. I was too young to watch his 60's films in their original formats. The transfer is not too great but good enough. The colors are right, it is thankfully letterboxed, etc. even if there are a few image distortions, artifacts and the sharpness and overall quality leaves a lot of room for improvement. There is something very wrong, however, with the sound especially towards the fifth chapter (that's the 5th access in the chapter search of which there are only 6 - thanks to Fox/Lorber!) Thankfully, this is a subtitled film (can't be switched off/on, they're pasted on the screen) otherwise, even the French won't understand the French dialogue. The noise distortion is terrible, but could it be Godard's deliberate way to convey sound since it is the part in which the CB radios or walkie-talkies were being used in the scene? My impression is that the technician in charge was probably asleep or didn't care when this noise distortion was taking place and the DVD didn't go through quality control which could have fixed it. I haven't seen the original so I don't know but since this is a Godard film, anything goes. But then the distortion continued even after that scene so any reasoning to defend Fox's negligience on this matter proved futile. I found it terribly distracting and I thought it pulled down the quality all the more of this already mediocre DVD transfer. Is this the best version yet? How does the VHS version rate? Fox/Lorber is hit and miss with DVDs. They did good with Seven Beauties, Last Year at Marienbad, and the already LD Criterion-restored Umbrellas of Cherbourg and 400 Blows but did very poorly with A Woman is a Woman, several Truffaut films and even the relatively recent Padre Padrone.Read more ›
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