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"Pierrot Le Fou" - (Criterion) - {Blu-ray}
Taylor Carlson
Studio: Criterion
Release Date:
Special Features:

Anna Karina, Pierrot Primer, Venice Film Festival 1965, Godard Love And Poetry, Trailer, Booklet


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:

Once again, Criterion delivers a drop-dead gorgeous transfer. Throughout, colors are vibrant and detail surprisingly good. The film maintains a film-like appearance throughout, revealing that no unwanted enhancements were applied to the picture. Compared to the StudioCanal disc of the film (available as an import), the Criterion disc leans more towards the reddish end of the color spectrum. This transfer was approved by the film's cinematographer, and that makes a pretty bold statement as far as recommending this particular version of the film. ***

Criterion has also done a fine job cleaning up the audio. The audio track is clear and free of any hiss or distortion throughout. They have clearly gone through a painstaking effort to make Pierrot Le Fou sound every bit as good as it did when it first hit theaters. Their efforts are easy to notice.

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 Criterion also includes an interview with Anna Karina (filmed in recent years), the Pierrot Primer featurette and a Venice Film Festival 1965 featurette - which is the festival where this now-iconic film was first unleashed on the world. Criterion also provides one of their fantastic booklets, featuring a ton of great info on the film. ***

Features included on the StudioCanal disc not included here include a German TV spot, a poster gallery, and a film analysis.

Final Words:

Pierrot Le Fou is classic French cinema at its finest. Criterion serves up the goods with yet another quality Blu-Ray Disc. Their disc is now out of print, but if you can find yourself a copy, do yourself a favor and snatch it up!


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