Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Top 100 Films - 19


For a while when I was first getting acquainted with Jean-Luc Godard, every film of his I would watch would become my new favorite. I think I bounced from Breathless to Contempt to Masculine Feminine to A Woman is a Woman before Pierrot Le Fou put an end to the cycle, but I wouldn’t balk at any claim of one of Godard’s unbroken run of 60s masterpieces as a personal favorite. But Pierrot is for me the definitive Godard film, a Bonnie and Clyde tale that reverses Jean-Paul Belmondo’s role from Breathless, instead stringing him along as the companion in an escalating crime spree. It also features Raoul Cotard’s finest work as cinematographer, give or take Contempt, the evidence lying both in the scenic Mediterranean landscapes and the intimate soul-capturing close ups that allow the two legendary star to let loose before the camera. Godard is at the height of his powers here, brandishing a sense of play that waned as his films got increasingly political. It’s a relentlessly fun ride, and with Anna Karina’s uncompromising allure, one of the sexiest films of the swingin’ 60s. The ending, as only Godard could manage, goes out simultaneously with a whimper and a bang, a deeply satisfying (and deeply hued) conclusion to one of the greatest road movies ever.

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