Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Band of Outsiders - Criterion Collection|
Actors: Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Danièle Girard, Louisa Colpeyn, Chantal Darget
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Aka bande a part Studio: Image Entertainment Release Date: 01/07/2003 Starring: Anna Karina Louisa Colpeyn Run time: 95 minutes Director: Jean-luc Goddard
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Light, playful with a gray undertone
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 06/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even though I haven't gotten around to finish watching Jean-Luc Godard's celebrated Breathless (1960) despite trying a couple of times, I'm pretty sure I like Band of Outsiders better. Main reason: Anna Karina. I have little doubt that most women would prefer Breathless since it stars Jean-Paul Belmondo who, as cinematic history has it, anticipated Richard Gere's performance in Truffaut's American Breathless (1983).
What I love about Karina's Odile is her incredible naivete. Although 20-years-old playing perhaps an 18-year-old, Karina, then Godard's wife, manages the complete and total personality of someone say 12-years-old. It is her naivete that makes the film work as two petty, would-be criminals, Arthur (Claude Brasseur) and Franz (Sami Frey) seduce her into helping them rob a surprisingly large number of francs from her Aunt's house. At least they think they're going to score. We'll see how the fates feel about that.
They meet in a beginning English language class. Obviously it is not just Godard who admires American culture, our three beginners in life do as well. Appropriately enough the film is adapted from Fools' Gold, an American novel by Dolores Hitchins. In a sense this is a French film imitating not an American film but an American attitude toward life, a free and easy world in which riches are liable to just fall into your lap, where it's chic to be young and run with the wind and drive your convertible onto the sidewalk when you feel like it and in crazy circles for no reason at all, and it is especially fun to jump into the vehicle without opening the doors while it is moving. It is an existence in which you feel spontaneous and uninhibited and can dance the Madison without looking at your feet.
Well, Odile and Franz can. Arthur watches his continuously. And this tells us something about Arthur, who is a bit mean and a bit shallow, but intent on getting his and getting it right. It is he with whom Odile falls into puppy love. She is attracted to his confidence and his crude masculinity, and his interest in her, nothing more. She is further seduced by the joy of finding friends and something exciting to do. She hasn't a clue about who they are or who she is, and that in part is the charm of the film.
She has lovely limbs that we do not see. She runs gracefully, stretching her legs out like a colt. She delights in sitting in the front seat of the Simca, the men on either side of her. Steal the money she has spotted in her uncle's closet, money that she herself would never think of stealing? Okay. And then we go to England or better yet, South America like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Childish, very childish and charming because Odile is so pretty, just that, pretty as every young girl should be. But surely something tragic is going to happen. Surely this is a cautionary tale about how innocence is lost.
There are gray day shots of Paris and the suburbs now covered with concrete and asphalt. There's a nine-minute run through the Louvre, young people just having fun; and then the denouement and tragedy. Of some sort. And then the fantasy life returns as the film ends.
Godard's story, his plot, isn't to be taken seriously, but his characters are. Arthur is the bad guy, the primitive, just an animal acting out his animal life. But Franz is sly, reflective, reads books, is well-mannered, is finding himself. Odile is a child who will be a woman soon.
The Criterion Collection DVD is nicely presented with some of the usual extras, including excerpts from interviews with Godard and Anna Karina. The subtitles are excellent. There's a booklet with a review by Joshua Clover and part of an interview by Jean Collet from 1964 entitled, "No Questions Asked: Conversations with Jean-Luc Godard.""