Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BAND OF OUTSIDERS (French) (1964)

“Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.” – Jean Luc Godard

Odile, Franz and Arthur are odd rebels. A gullible young girl, a sophisticated straight forward dude and a smart ass crook never make a great company until the matter is involved either with love or money. Here it’s both!!! Jean Luc Godard called his this film as “Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka.”

Like any other Godard film it was shot at real locations of Paris streets almost in documentary fashion with brilliant use of innovative jump cuts and fine close ups. Point of view narration by a voice over was used throughout the film. Perhaps Godard used it either for breaking the conventional continuity of the film’s plot and detaching the audience to be subjective or using it as a tool to synchronize/ bridging gaps between his jump cuts. That’s just personal analysis.

Every great director has his own muse which distilled the creativity or aestheticism of his art. Anna Karina & Godard was another great chemistry happened to the world of cinema. It’s Odile’s character which stays with me not only because of gorgeous Anna Karina but the way her feelings and naïve innocence got manipulated by two crooks from beginning to culminating final sequence.
Though French New Wave initiated a movement of change, Godard didn’t miss to highlight either American pulp fiction films or the touchstone superiority of old literary classics. There are many direct/indirect reflections on this account. For example-in the initial sequence both male actors trying to mock shootout scene on a road like a Hollywood movie. On another scene Odile quoting T S Eliot in English class- ‘Everything that’s new is automatically traditional’, a teacher dictating Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ or an indirect reference by Franz about Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Purloined Letter’.

The film has many memorable scenes- the exchange of crush between three lead players in the class room, a minute of silence between trio at restaurant table when even the noise and background music was completely mute and than the long dance sequence, running record in famous Louvre Museum, and engaging climax. All of them are fine Godard moments not to be missed!

Needless to rate pathbreaking films.

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