Pierrot le Fou

Pierrot le Fou ★★★★★

As with all of Godard's movies I feel I'm only skimming the surface of a deep pond full of greater meaning than I'm capable of attaining without having seen all of the same movies, read all of the same books, heard all of the same songs, thought all of the same thoughts, or breathed all of the same breaths as Godard. I suppose that's what makes him a definitively personal filmmaker, his "fingerprints on every frame" as my Francophile film studies professor would repeat like a damn mantra. It can be alienating at times, but in Pierrot Le Fou I think the perfect balance is struck between Godard the ponderous semiotician, Godard the strident leftist, and Godard the movie dude.

It's a fluid movie that like a tide comes in and out of being a movie and being a movie movie (if you don't understand the difference why are you reading this?), suggesting that between the real world and the fictional world, between the interior world and the exterior world, between ideas and feelings, between words and actions, the barriers are thin and malleable creating constant exchanges, tension and contradictions ("In a word: emotion"). Even names don't have one meaning. Something to ponder, yes, but also something to play with. And Pierrot Le Fou is extremely playful and funny even as it's commenting on the Vietnam War, the corruption of language by commercials, and whatever else was nagging Godard as he handed the actors their lines just before calling, "Action!" (Samuel Fuller claims he improvised his part).

Belmondo and Karina are every doomed couple in movie history and, by extension, every couple in history. Belmondo's too horny to deal with Karina's fatalism (more interested in her thigh line than her fate line), she's a dreamer, he's pragmatic... it comes real close to being Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus horseshit but it's a relationship that through the course of the movie changes and evolves in a depressingly familiar pattern. With all of the cinematic, literary, and artistic references thrown in, it's enough to make one's head spin. It really is life as a movie (or a movie as life).

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