Pierrot Le Fou
Every Godard fan has a favorite movie from his prolific 1960s first decade of filmmaking--some favor the intimate black and white pictures of the early 1960s, some the increasingly structuralist poisonous political allegories of the late 1960s in Made in USA, La Chinoise, and Week-End. Pierrot le fou, his 1965 outing and first color picture, straddles the two eras, emerging as the closest Godard ever came to making a purely Pop Art movie. Advertising imagery and its imperative aphoristic speak collide with an unabashed love for cinematic genres and a still giddy intellect as Jean-Paul Belmondo's Pierrot leaves his wife, takes up with Anna Karina's Marianne--who happens to have a dead body in her flat--and the pair hit the road on the lam. Cinematographer Raoul Coutard wryly frames Godard's cinematic allusions, catches every hot primary color in the director's glossy-magazine compositions, and indulges in the high-contrast tints used during certain sequences and disorienting close-ups. The U.S. escalation in Vietnam informs the movie's elusive politics, but not even that shadow can tarnish the glee of Karina singing "Ma ligne de chance" or Samuel Fuller's brief cameo. Arguably the last time Godard's mind distilled cinematic pleasure purely for its own sake.