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"Pierrot Le Fou" (French Import) - {Blu-ray}
Taylor Carlson
Studio: StudioCanal/Lionsgate
Release Date:
Special Features:

Film analysis, Colin MacCabe featurette, trailer, poster gallery, German TV spot, Godard Love And Poetry


Pierrot Le Fou is directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The film stars Jean Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina. ***

Ferdinand is a man living in Paris fed up with his mundane existence. He has just been fired from his job at a television station, and grows tired of his wife taking him to random parties, and trying to force him to take jobs. One night, the young girl who baby-sits their daughter happens to be a girl from Ferdinand's past - or as she calls him, Pierrot. The two run away together, and it quickly becomes clear she has a less-than-favorable past. Despite it all, Ferdinand goes along for the ride, getting himself deeper and deeper into a situation that won't be easy to get out of or to deal with. ***

What if Bonnie and Clyde had gone on their crime spree in France instead of the United States? We'll never know the answer to that question, but after watching Pierrot Le Fou, you'll probably have a pretty good idea (and for the record, this movie predates the classic Bonnie and Clyde film by 2 years!) ***

Pierrot Le Fou is a beautifully-filmed movie that features some spectacular camera work and French scenery. Director Jean-Luc Godard has an excellent directorial style, and keeps things moving along at a brisk pace, even if the movie runs just under 2 hours. Godard manages to engage the audience throughout the entire movie, with a mixture of crime, romance, music, action, violence, and everything in between, ***

But what truly makes the film is its stars. Anna Karina steals the show as a gorgeous young woman who is involved in plenty of less-than-favorable activity. Jean-Paul Belmondo is no slouch either in his role of Ferdinand/Pierrot, a man who wants nothing more than to get away from his nagging wife - even if it means going into a life he can never come back from. The actors make every scene interesting, regardless of the content, be it committing a murder or putting on a play of the Vietnam War to some soldiers to earn some quick cash for their travels. Despite the web of crimes and deceit they step into, we still find ourselves rooting for them. These are living, breathing, three-dimensional characters - and I thoroughly loved every minute we spent with them. ***

Criterion released the film on Blu-Ray in Fall 2009. However, they quickly lost the rights to the movie back to StudioCanal/Lionsgate, who released their own versions overseas in 2010. Both discs feature different supplemental features and transfers of the film. Criterion's disc is region-A locked and out of print, while the StudioCanal/Lionsgate French import is still being produced. I have provided reviews for both versions. ---

Image And Sound: StudioCanal's transfer of Pierrot Le Fou is superb. When I heard another studio was putting out a transfer (in addition to Criterion's now out-of-print version), I had my doubts. But honestly, this disc looks amazing. The major difference seems to be that StudioCanal's disc leans more towards the green end of the color palette, whereas the Criterion was more reddish. The Criterion transfer was approved by the movie's cinematographer, however I doubt he would disapprove of this one. StudioCanal has done right by this reviewer. ***

The audio track on here is not the same that appeared on Criterion's disc, however like the transfer it too is no slouch. Dialogue, music, sound effects, and everything in between all sound great. Seriously, I have no complaints with this transfer, just don't expect it to rock your speakers like a modern film on Blu. ---

Special Features:

Both the StudioCanal disc and the Criterion disc feature the Godard, Love and Poetry featurette, as well as the original trailer. However the StudioCanal disc also includes other featurettes not on Criterion's disc, plus a German television spot for the movie and a poster gallery. The StudioCanal includes an informative booklet, but I can't really make many comments there since the entire booklet is in French. All featurettes on this disc are perfectly playable in an American player.

Features included on the Criterion disc not included here are an Anna Karina interview, and the Pierrot Primer and Venice Film Festival 1965 featurettes.

Final Words:

Pierrot Le Fou is classic French cinema at its finest. Criterion's disc is out of print now, and while it remains the version I recommend, importing this StudioCanal French disc (which is region-free and features a killer transfer of its own!) is a fine alternative.


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