Pierrot le Fou (Pierrot Goes Wild) (Crazy Pete) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 26, 2011
Pierrot le Fou is simple, yet completely exaggerated, such is the diversity and contradicting style of Godard. Ok, so it's no Breathless but it looks so good and it really is the quintessential 60's French film, switching between reality and fantasy in the name of freedom and the creative license of the silver screen. This is the Godard I love, and I certainly don't always. This is also the first existential film that I haven't hated, so that was nice for me to. Have I mentioned how good it looks?
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2008
a step beyond À bout de souffle lies godard's avant-garde bonnie and clyde; not only influencing that film but likely influenced by it since he'd been sent the script in '65. whether this film used a script at all is an open question: it has only the barest outlines of a plot, many random asides, snatches of song, poetry, philosophy, both characters addressing the camera, so be warned if u don't have patience for such devices. otherwise it's a lovely road movie, adventure film, love story with the 'last romantic couple,' the hangdog dreamer belmondo and charming, mysterious anna karina, who never looked more beautiful. marvelous scenery and camerawork.
note: i've never heard anyone refer to this as 'crazy pete' but if i did i would probably smack them.
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2010
This review was long overdue. It's been quite a while since I saw this but its images are very difficult to forget, and its freewheeling, deliberately anarchic spirit remains fresh and perhaps has a longer-lasting effect than the film itself.
Pierrot Le Fou is ideally approached with the idea that it's entirely structured from Godard's idiosyncracy; unlike, for example, Une Femme Mariée, which is more about the other, PLF seems like a canvas splattered wildly with his interests, values, obsessions. He makes a film in which the only rule is to have no rules, with no coherence other than a slight, feeble storyline and the objective of hand-making a cinematic Universe: improvisation, surrealism, just as well as gaps in the story and loose ends are all valid because cinema is a more liberating, boundless, ecstatic alternative to life.
Jean Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina are a bored family man and a free-spirited young woman. They fall in love, and together they run away from Paris and their boring, restrictive lives; in a way, they take a road trip to madness. During their journey all sorts of absurd, amusing, and cinematically breath-taking episodes take place. They (Ferdinand and Marianna) eventually seem to know that they have no place in society: nothing to go back to and nothing to look forward to, so they choose to lose their minds, enjoy the ride, and they'll worry about the rest when they worry about the rest. So, it seems to me that whereas the development of the story is definitely chaotic and feels (maybe was) barely scripted, Godard had a very clear idea of where his characters were going.
Aside from the content, the art direction is an important part of the Godard experience: beautiful cinematography, sharp angles and unusual framing, always with color -especially blue, red and white- as leit motiv. Put all these elements together, along with the script and that looming 'fate' theme of the story and you have something very close to poetry if it could be translated to film: at once violent, vibrant, and subtle.
Now I'll stop writing because the more you talk about Pierrot Le Fou the less you understand it...So much of this film is about feeling, identification, and just visual enjoyment. I don't know if it's my favorite Godard film but I think it's one of his best, and definitely one of those love-it-or-hate-it/ iconic works that will always be a reference point for innovation and brashness in filmmaking.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2010
godard, belmondo, and karina team up again for a truly chaotic but wildly entertaining crime story that plays like a bonnie and clyde story with betrayal mixed in. karina is as beautiful as ever in this film, and although it has its absurd moments, the dialogue is as good as ever from a godard film and the style and texture of the film are a joy to watch. each time the story lost comprehension, it sort of fell back into place and pulled me back in. a bizarre but unique ending put the cap on an equally bizarre but completely satisfying film.
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2009
I don't really enjoy this whole movement of French New Wave just because there is nothing I can relate to. It's one of those movies I can still stand to watch just because there is so much style going on despite the ridiculousness of the characters' actions. Really, it's just a bunch of bored, selfish French socialites doing things with no regard to anyone else. These characters are barely even human. And Anna Karina is such a bitch, even though she is SO pretty. Things I like: Anna Karina's face, Anna Karina's clothes, Anna Karina's hair, the lilting prose, the colors, the style, the music, the dancing, the cameras. Things I don't like: Jean Luc Godard and his entire stupid movie.
Super Reviewer
June 2, 2007
improvised from day to day
Super Reviewer
½ July 2, 2010
I get it that Jean-Luc Godard is an auteur of the highest caliber. I get it that this is a cinematic abstract painting. I get it that it is filled with brilliant intellectual references. But, as a film, I just don't get it. Bizarre, disjointed scenes pile up one after another and nothing makes any sense, even when observing it as a complete whole. The French countryside is beautiful and there are numerous glorious pastoral scenes. But the story, of a man who leaves his wife, children, and life in Paris with a woman he apparently had had an affair with before to embark on a Bonnie and Clyde like crime spree just goes beyond all reason. Crazy Pierrot (my name is Ferdinand) indeed! This was a total waste of time and has given me a colossal headache!
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2013
A brightly-colored crime thriller and comedy from French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, Pierrot le Fou is unusual but charming in its oddness and visual extravagance. It follows Ferdinand and Marianne (Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina respectively), two lovers on the run after committing a number of crimes, including murder. The story is one of the less important aspects of the movie though because more often than not it seems almost plotless. There are frequently scenes that are irrelevant to the story, including a couple of scenes that just involve a character reading a passage from a book while looking at the camera. Like many Godard movies, Pierrot le Fou is very self-aware and breaks the fourth wall often. Aside from Belmondo reading a book to the camera, there is also a memorable moment when he is talking to Karina and says something that seems like a non sequitur. When Karina asks what he means, he tells her he was talking to the audience and then he turns back and glances at the camera for a moment. It's moments like this that make Pierrot le Fou so fun to watch, along with the gorgeous color scheme. Not all of Godard's movies were in color, but the ones that were look absolutely beautiful. Pierrot le Fou's use of red and blue especially make it look astounding. It's clear that Godard's use of color had an influence on many contemporary filmmakers, especially Wes Anderson whose use of color was without a doubt inspired by Godard. Unfortunately the movie's pacing slows down more than once because of the frequent detours from the story, but it's generally still engaging enough thanks to the two fantastic lead actors (Anna Karina is breathtakingly beautiful) and the unique visuals. It's a little messy and more than a little flawed, but Pierrot le Fou is nonetheless compelling thanks to its colorful visuals, great actors, and self-aware sense of humor. It's sure to turn off many people with its sometimes chaotic storytelling methods, but for those with the patience to watch it all the way through, Pierrot le Fou is a one-of-a-kind movie with a lot to offer.
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2011
All the rules are bent or disregarded entirely in Godard's Pierrot le Fou and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. While it's said that the film can't fully be deconstructed, which I would agree with, there is an outline of a plot which revolves around Ferdinand and Marianne. They are former lovers and upon bumping into each other after Ferdinand's wife hires Marianne as a baby-sitter. When taking her home Ferdinand decides to run away with Marianne who we believe to be in some serious legal troubles that involve gun smuggling and murder. The film was supposedly made without a script and only the dialogue was written by Godard and a requirement. The film is one that must be experienced and carefully interpreted by the viewer at the place and tone of the language used. I feel it's a film you will love if you are into Arthouse films or hate if you can't stand films that don't have a fast flow and easy to read story. Recommended if you are someone who has patience and at least a small understanding of film and art itself.
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2009
Although I was excited by this movie, and personally thought it was masterfully made, I wouldn't hold it against anyone who absolutely despised it. Godard's techniques here give the piece an improvisational feel, and it's difficult to distinguish greater meaning on a first viewing. However, the originality of the vision and the beauty of its artistry were enough to engage me alone. It's full of bright ideas, and its oddity is so overwhelming that it is a difficult film to put into words. All I know is that seeing it in a cinema was a special experience, and it's a movie I intend on revisiting.
Super Reviewer
½ January 9, 2013
With the last Jean-Luc Godard film that I have watched (which is "Weekend") tracing back about 3 years ago, that of which I also vividly remember of not liking that much, it's genuinely reinvigorating to watch some of his earlier, more beloved works that are, undoubtedly, the patented heart and soul of the French New Wave. In this instance, it is "Pierrot le Fou", a masterful adventure film about love, self-discovery and, ultimately, self-destruction. But with Godard on the helm, nothing is particularly absolute.

Starring the charismatic yet mischievous-looking Jean-Paul Belmondo and the enticingly energetic Anna Karina, the film, about two star-crossed, perennially on-the-run lovers, is packed with immense intellectual energy and colorful playfulness characteristic of the aforementioned film movement.

Although the film sure has a conventional story that's quite easy to follow, it's never the main priority. Instead, "Pierrot le Fou" is a film that follows the impulse not of its surface narrative but of the transgressive potentials the film medium has. In short, "Pierrot le Fou" is a half-comic, half-poetic intimation of cinema itself, and there's never a more perfect filmmaker to handle it than Godard himself.

Personally, the key to enjoy "Pierrot le Fou" more is not to be too conscious and reliant of the plot because if you'll be, the film has numerous elements that can surely and gravely deviate from its focus. One of them, of course, is the seemingly disjointed, pseudo-romantic yet nonetheless poetic utterances by Belmondo's titular character. Another is the film's inclusion of random, millisecond appearances of numerous neon signs, some of which read the words 'cinema' and 'life'.

These minute details, obviously, are nothing but sheer experimental frolic on Godard's part, which, admittedly, has nonetheless added an additional spark of uniqueness to the film's entirety.

"Film is like a battleground. There's love, hate, action, violence, death... in one word: emotions," said Samuel Fuller, who appeared in "Pierrot le Fou" as himself. In a way, this cameo by the said filmmaker is a deliberate embrace of irony on Godard's part, who, from what I think, believes that cinema is so much more than emotions. Sure, they (the emotions) may slightly further a storyline, motivate some characters and justify some scenes, but ultimately, what Godard is more concerned about is his audience's intellectual and subtly didactic journey through the heart and pulse of cinema itself. Or, to be more exact, 'his' own vision of cinema: a vision where anything goes, where obscure music and high-brow literature fit nicely in mundanely immature conversations and situations, and where blood and violence seem highly inconsequential. Hell, even highway accidents have never looked more picturesque and unearthly than in "Pierrot le Fou" (but then again, there's that epic tracking shot in "Weekend").

"It's not really a film, it's an attempt at cinema," Godard once said about "Pierrot le Fou". Well, if "Pierrot le Fou" is not, in its basic essence, a film, then perhaps Belmondo's Pierrot (oh sorry, his name is Ferdinand) and Karina's Marianne are not much characters themselves than they are mere devices for Godard to kick-start a necessary road trip and to make his ultimate goal, which is to explore the then-unchartered frontiers of postmodern cinema, as humanly and tangibly flawed as possible. And alas, he has pulled it off.

Indeed, "Pierrot le Fou" is a film that's worthy of many future revisits. For me, the film has definitely achieved what many art films haven't, and that is to be thematically dense and genuinely enjoyable at the same breath. Plus, amidst its pop-intellectual discourse about nothing and everything, it has also raised quite a compelling outlook on existence; that after all is said and done', 'we are just dead men on parole.'
Super Reviewer
May 14, 2011
An edgy and always entertaining film by master filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard.
Super Reviewer
May 10, 2008
The film is visually very pleasing, and both Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo give very good performances, but their characters aren't very engaging and the film is too long for such a thin plot.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2010
Infuriatingly vague and indulgent.
Super Reviewer
August 29, 2008
"It is not really a film, it's an attempt at cinema. Life is the subject, with [Cinema]Scope and color as its attributes...In short, life filling the screen as a tap fills bathtub that is simultaneously emptying at the same rate." - Jean Luc Godard

"The film is like a battleground. Love, Hate, Action, Violence, and Death. In one word, Emotion." - Samuel Fuller
Super Reviewer
½ May 13, 2007
A lot of the same Godard themes from other movies, but still so many charming little moments. "I'm glad I don't like spinach, because if I did, then I would eat it. And I can't stand the stuff."
Super Reviewer
February 14, 2009
The 2 stars are for the look of the film. It is gorgeous with vibrant colors and cool Belmondo and beautiful Karina running around in the south of France. The film is nothing but a experiment mixing Noir with Surrealism. This film is all over the place and it's just not my cup of tea. At times it works, but after awhile you just don't care. I read that Godard didn't have a shooting script and let the actors improvise. This may not be true, but it sure feels that way and that is no way to make a film. I had to read what the film was about after I saw it. I did pick up on some things,but if you watch this dry you will not follow the story and frankly not care. It did look great, but I doubt I will ever watch it again.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2008
Glorious,improvisatory and the impeccable Belmondo in a surreal state of adjustment.Nothing is oblivious according to the chaotic screenplay and there lies the whole charm of it.
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2007
One of the best Goddards. In his dirtier phase. You really fall in love with these silly ass characters, and it's Goddard.
April 1, 2013
More than anything I think I enjoyed the banter between the two leads, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina, who is just lovely.

One of the last Godard films that had a fairly simple through-line, this arrived just on the verge of his challenging films of the latter part of his career, very few of which appeal to me all that much.

Worth a rental.
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