Bande à part

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“It's a zeitgeisty scoot round 1960s Paris, with the three of them improvising a dance number in a bar and breaking the record for running round the Louvre – thus arguably providing DNA for all pop culture life forms since.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Year: 1964
Country: France
Running time: 95 mins
Censor Rating: PG - coarse language

Screenplay: Jean-Luc Godard
Photography: Raoul Coutard
Editors: Agnès Guillemot, Françoise Collin
Music: Michel Legrand

With: Anna Karina, Sami Frey, Claude Brasseur, Louisa Colpeyn, Danièle Girard, Chantal Darget, Ernest Menzer, Georges Staquet

In French with English subtitles

B&W

“In 1964, with his career and his marriage to the actress Anna Karina going through rough patches, Godard decided to make a relatively traditional film, based on an American crime novel, and got Columbia Pictures to produce it – though the only movies beside which it seems traditional are Godard’s own. (I’ve seen the manuscript copy of Godard’s script; the movie was indeed remarkably written-out compared with his other films of the nineteen-sixties.)

The plot—a romantic triangle involving a sheltered young woman (Karina) and a pair of small-time crooks (Claude Brasseur and Sami Frey) – resonated personally with the director, who, at the outset, declares on the soundtrack, “My story starts here.” But Godard mainly used it as a string for pearls of playful side business, including a world-record sprint through the Louvre and a snappy line dance that he adorns with his psychological perorations. (The trio were non-dancers and rehearsed for a month; when they danced in the café, it was to no music, and Godard intermittently cuts out the dubbed-in score to leave the dancers to the self-conscious silence of their snapping fingers and shuffling feet.) Best of all, a tender passage in the metro, featuring a luminous closeup of Karina, mournful glances at passers-by, and a poem by Aragon, which makes clear both the glory and the artifice of the intellectualized populism dear to the culture that gave film noir its name.” — Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Godard's 1964 classic has the same garrulous, genial, almost insolent effortlessness of Breathless, the same feeling of jumping for joy and almost defying gravity on the way down. Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur and Sami Frey are Odile, Arthur and Franz: a beautiful girl and two would-be criminal desperados she meets at an English class. It's a zeitgeisty scoot round 1960s Paris, with the three of them improvising a dance number in a bar and breaking the record for running round the Louvre – thus arguably providing DNA for all pop culture life forms since.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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