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Pierrot Le Fou (The Criterion Collection)

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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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 26 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000ZM1MIM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58,824 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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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.

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Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a man who has married for money and is terribly disillusioned with his life. When forced to go to a dinner party he does not want to attend, he throws a temper tantrum and returns home early. When driving Marianne (Anna Karina), the babysitter, back home, they fall in love and decide to run away from Paris. They embark on a series of escapades that begins with running illegal arms for extra cash and runs the gamut: love, death, ennui, boat chases, murder, betrayal, revenge, lost cash, and almost anything else you can think of, and all with a sense of reality that is an interesting contrast to the typical American film. Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, Alphaville) blends different genres with great success and achieves moments of cinematic poetry in this quasi-epic of modern malaise. Also a cameo by the Hollywood director Samuel Fuller is something to watch for. Be aware that Godard is for people seriously interested in cinematic art. --James McGrath --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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: VHS Tape
When I watched this film I found it to be quite unlike anything else I had seen. To really appreciate the flow of this one, I realised early on that I would have to cast aside my general expectations of a plot and storyline being the focus of the film and just see it as being a whole spectrum of experiences and emotions. I had heard that this film was shot without a script, and was almost entirely improvised by the director and the actors. This had the brilliant effect that on seeing it that there was a feeling that that anything could happen, and it carried a genuine sense of freedom and exhiliration, because the actors themselves were often actually experiencing for the first time whatever their impulse was for their characters to perform. When I first saw this I was very new to arthouse-type films and it really turned me on to the thinking that a film could simply be made up of emotion and experience, and that it doesn't necessarily have to be giving some moral or meaning or following some narrative structure, and that as an artform it could be improvised and therefore lived in at the same time that it was recorded. I watch this with a real feeling of being ALIVE. It's what inspired me to watch just about every new wave film around since I saw it. See it with a totally open mind and you might well get a bang out of it.
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Format: VHS Tape
At my local UC PIERROT is shown in the survey of film history class they offer. I was invited to sit in once. Normally the professor shows the film, then lectures. He screened PIERROT. When it was over, there was total silence. He started to lecture, but almost the entire lecture hall of students walked out. A good friend told me later that she had been profoundly moved, and she simply didn't want to understand why. She didn't feel it was respectful to what she had just seen. PIERROT is on of the few examples of true mystical cinema that we have. Yes, there are the references to Rimbaud, Hollywood musicals, gangster films.... The visual puns, the references to Godard and Karina's life at the time, the improvisations, the barbs about American commercialism, the Gish-rebeling-against-Grifith quality of Karina's amazing performance... But what do they matter?
Sunlight/love/color/the face/poetry/emotion/loss of love/slapstick/image/life: PIERROT LE FOU
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Format: VHS Tape
I must say that of all of Godard's films, this must be one of his most coherent and most "accessible" (if that is at all relevant, which is probably is to the casual viewer. By this I mean that if you were bored by the political spiels in Weekend, you would not necessarily tire of this.) Which is not to say that this film conforms to traditional cinematic standards, but judging against some of his other works, Pierrot le Fou is a much "gentler" movie. Nonetheless, it contains two of the most fabulous scenes I have ever seen: the ever-amusing Vietnam reenactment and [of course] the supremely satisfying ending. Additionally, development of character seems to play a larger part in Pierrot le Fou (and in such others as Contempt) than in many of JLG's others.
And to think that I never understood the lyrics of Sonic Youth's "Heather Angel" until several months ago...
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Format: VHS Tape
This film explodes Hollywood conventions, while praising its auteurs,and in the process transcends all of its literary, cinematic, and artistic influences. I should caution, however, the casual observer who is not a fan of Godard's. This film is definitely not for some people. That statement has less to do with the content of the flick and more to do with its form, although if you think literary allusions are pretentious you might be as equally put off by the content. For the Godard fan, this is one of his finest efforts, carefully balancing emotion with intellect. The ending scene has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen on screen. As for Belmondo, the screen has never been visited by a cooler presence since the days of Bogart. Anna Karina, on the other hand, seems to have the ability to swallow the earth and all it contains through her magnificently large eyes.
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