February 2, 2004

Feeling A Litte 'Vague'

"My story ends here, like in a pulp novel at that superb moment when nothing weakens, nothing wears away, nothing wanes. An upcoming film will reveal, in Cinemascope and Technicolor, the tropical adventures of Odile and Franz." Jean-Luc Godard is the ultimate cinecultist, he puts the rest of us to shame. His middle name even is cinema -- or at least that's how it looks in the title sequence of Band of Outsiders when his director's credit flashes on the screen, a DVD CC rented recently from Netflix.

This is a lovely movie filled with charming and poetic moments -- CC laughed in delight at the three characters whirl-wind visit/race through the Louvre -- and a great quality DVD. Ze storie is zis: Young man and petty gangster in training Franz takes his buddy Arthur to meet his new girlfriend Odile (the incomperable Anna Karina) who lives on an island with her aunt and a rich old man. Arthur fixes his bad boy stare on innocent Odile and she will do anything for him, including helping them arrange the robbery of the old guy's cash. Godard provides the commentary voice-over as these young people act, elevating their silliness to a literary pretension. Funny and witty and poignant and beautiful, Band of Outsiders is all of this and an entertaining little story.

Criterion, a DVD company known for their extras and charging for it, does do a wonderful job filling that part of their DVDs with features beyond the usual trailers, links to the official website and the self-indulgent director's commentary. The Loot includes:
• Visual Vocabularies -- catalogues all of Godard's references and quotes in the movie.
• Part of a documentary about the Nouvelle Vague which includes an interview with Godard in 1964 and some "behind the scenes" footage of the making of this movie.
• Interview with Anna Karina (the original hottness, now an adorable older woman still very fond of Jean-Luc) in 2002 at Brasserie Lipp.
• Cinematographer Raoul Coutard, who supervised the transfer of this film, discusses the film and his involvement in the French New Wave.
• Short comedy film made by Agnes Varda, included in Cleo from 5 to 7, which features Anna and Jean-Luc called Les Fiances du Pont Mac Donald.
• And trailers, the original and the one from the rerelease of this new print in 2001.

Finally, a Quote for Today on Jean-Luc's propension for quotation: "People in life quote as they please, so we have the right to quote as we please. Therefore I show people quoting, merely making sure they quote what pleases me." — Jean-Luc Godard, Cahiers du Cinιma, December 1962.

Posted by karen at February 2, 2004 8:30 AM