Saturday, September 24, 2011

Band of Outsiders (1964)

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)
Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Genre: Drama
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Starring: Anna Karina, Sami Frey, Claude Brasseur, Daniele Girard, Louisa Colpeyn
Duration: 97 min.
Rating: 8.6  

Summary:
The tale of two crooks with a fondness for old Hollywood B-movies who convince a languages student to help them commit a robbery, leading to deadly results.



Band of Outsiders is a film written and directed by French New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard.  It is adapted from a crime novel titled Fools' Gold by Dolores Hitchen.  It stars Anna Karina as Odile, a young student who is persuaded by two wannabe criminals Franz (Sami Frey) and Arthur (Claude Brasseur) to assist them in a heist.

Stylistically the film plays out with a quick paced fun and light manner, as we watch these characters who are lost in delusions of criminal glory, first make their plans and then kill time before attempting the robbery.  All the while dealing with the tensions of a romantic triangle, with both men vying for the attentions of the young and alluring Odile.

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

The themes in this cover much of the same ground Godard explored in his debut Breathless, and it captures the same spontaneous feeling, with the on location shots and young good-for-nothing characters playing at life.  Though he gives this its own stylistic flourishes that don't try quite as hard to break all the cinematic rules, but still make it stand out as a brilliant and influential work on its own.  As elements of this have been copied and reused countless times over the years in films such as Amelie and Pulp Fiction.

There is the use of ironic narration, done by Godard himself with a flat and serious tone.  Both revealing the hidden thoughts of the characters and also cheekily pointing out and recapping the obvious 'for those who missed the beginning'.  Then of course the famous diner scene, where first Godard uses his penchant for reminding the audience that film is just a fabricated fantasy, when the characters partake in a minute of silence and the soundtrack drops out completely as well.

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Then later the three leads take to the floor in a silly line dance that begins energetically and continues on with the narrator filling us in on what each of them is thinking, until one by one the men eventually lose interest leaving Odile alone on the floor.  Finally there is the fantastic run through the Louvre as the three of them dash through the exhibits in an attempt to beat the world record for fastest tour.  An iconic sequence that Bernardo Bertolucci paid tribute to in The Dreamers, and I wonder how many people have been ejected from the museum over the years for trying to do the same.

The story is simple, and the characters just as much, but this is pure fun.  Cinematic magic that feels youthful and fresh from just the right blend of fantasy and realism.  Every time I see this, I find myself wishing a little that the cute announcement of a sequel at the end wasn't just a tease.

Bonjour Tristesse 

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Band of Outsiders • Bande à part (1964)

Also check out the reviews from my fellow LAMBs:

18 comments:

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah it does have a level of seriousness not shown in the trailer.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks Tyler.  It's never too late to add links to your post. :)

I loved Week End too, but have some difficulty with the serious films he made after that.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I haven't seen Shoot the Piano Player yet, but I should rectify that soon.  Thanks for stopping by Shubhajit.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

You are right, that is a great moment too. 

Shubhajit Lahiri said...

I absolutely adore this film. It is suffused with spontaneity, irreverence, off-the-cuff humour and improvisations - all of which made this an immensely memorable watch for me. As you rightly noted, Band of Outsiders formed a companion piece to his Breathless. In fact Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player, another one of my favourites, could also be considered as a companion piece to both - both in terms of theme and structure.

dorm said...

i dont know when u r going to write a tutorial there...if u write email me at reiheofm at yahoo dot in

Tyler said...

Great review and thanks for linking to the other LAMBs, I should've done that as well.

BANDE A PART has to be one of Godard's more playful, lighter works, though on all honesty I prefer his more serious stuff. WEEK END is my favorite film of his.

The Reel Foto said...

looks nice. :D

Hoi-Ming Ng said...

Ah, ok. So the trailer is not to be believed right? It paints a much different movie than what you described.

Real Reel People said...

It is a lot of fun. But I also love the serious scene when Odile is in the subway with Arthur and she sings that song. I love that scene!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Hi, sorry I don't have the time right now to give you a personal tutorial for this.

Try looking at my page source, or Googling for third party Blogger templates that have a similar navbar and studying or copying their code.

If I get the time I will make a step by step howto on my other blog stupidblogtricks.blogspot.com in the future.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Did you watch the trailer, I just want to say that it is misleading, making it look like a slapstick comedy when it's not.  But still very fun in its own way.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks for stopping by Aziza.

d_4 said...

You got my thoughts by the end, it just seems fun. It seems worth a watch because of it.

dorm said...

hi, I'm d. U may remember me. Once u and Mr.Adam's apple helped me in blogger help forum. u told me about feed2java script. Now remember me? 

I want a help. U have a navigation bar at the top. It not only has naigation items but also has image links for twitter and rss. Ans also it has a search bar. Would you tell me how to make like this to me? 

My email id is reiheofm at yahoo dot in

email me if u wish to tell me...if else leave this....

Aziza said...

This sounds interesting, I will definately check it out! Thanks for the review, it was great!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Du grand Godard. Esthétique et éthique tout à la fois. J'ai rencontré Brasseur, Frey et Karina, Frey est le plus énigmatique (très gentil aussi, on a parlé de Beckett), Karina la plus douce (elle était à une terrasse de café à Paris, sourire au lèvre) et Brasseur le plus...trop saoul pour comprendre ce qui se passe.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Wow, quelle chance! I can only dream of running into Anna Karina in a Paris café.

Merci pour la visite et le commentaire!

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