AFM CINE CLUB WEDNESDAY: PIERROT LE FOU

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Alliance Française de Manille’s Cine Club Wednesday presents: Pierrot le Fou on October 28, 2015, 8:30 pm. Admission is free!



Pierrot le Fou (or Pierrot the madman) is a 1965 French film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, starring Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo. The film is based on the 1962 novel, Obsession, by Lionel White. It was Jean-Luc Godard’s tenth feature film, released between Alphaville and Masculin, féminin. The film was the 15th highest grossing film of the year with a total of 1,310,580 admissions in France. It was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 38th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.



In the film, Ferdinand Griffon (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is unhappily married and has been recently fired from his job at a TV broadcasting company. After attending a mindless party full of shallow discussions in Paris, he feels a need to escape and decides to run away with his baby-sitter, an ex-girlfriend, Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), leaving his wife and children and bourgeois lifestyle. Following Marianne into her apartment and finding a corpse, Ferdinand soon discovers that Marianne is being chased by OAS gangsters, two of whom they barely escape.



Marianne and “Pierrot” — the unwelcome nickname meaning “sad clown,” which Marianne gives to Ferdinand during their time together — go on a traveling crime spree from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea in the dead man’s car. They lead an unorthodox life, always on the run. Settling down in the French Riviera after having burnt the dead man’s car (full of money) and sunk a second car into the Mediterranean Sea, their relationship becomes strained. Griffon ends up reading books, philosophizing and writing in his diary. The baby-sitter becomes bored of the Robert Louis Stevenson-ness of their living situation and insists they return to town, where in a night club they meet one of their pursuers. The gangsters waterboard Pierrot and depart. In the confusion, Marianne and Ferdinand are separated, with her traveling in search of Pierrot and him settling in Toulon.



After their eventual reunion, Renoir uses Griffon to get a suitcase full of money before running away with her real boyfriend, Fred (Dirk Sanders), to whom she had previously referred as her brother. Pierrot shoots Marianne and her boyfriend, and then paints his face blue and decides to blow himself up by tying sticks of red and yellow dynamite to his head. Regretting his decision at the last second, he tries to extinguish the fuse, but, due to the dynamite obstructing his vision, fails and is blown up.



Marianne’s nickname for Ferdinand, “Pierrot” is a reference to Claude Sautet and his first movie, Classe tous risques (1960).



Like many of Godard’s films, Pierrot le fou features characters who break the fourth wall by looking into the camera. It also includes startling editing choices; for example, when Pierrot throws a cake at a woman in the party scene, Godard cuts to an exploding firework just as it hits her. The film has many of the characteristics of the then dominant pop art movement, making constant disjunctive references to various elements of mass culture. Like much pop art the film uses visuals drawn from cartoons and employs an intentionally garish visual aesthetic based on bright primary colors.



Pierrot le fou is sometimes seen as an early and paradigmatic example of postmodernism in film. The film’s postmodern elements include its parodic but affectionate attitude towards American pop culture, its deliberate mixing of high and low art, its frequent dissection of popular movie conventions, and its use of a decentered, collage-like (or paratactic) narrative structure. The central character of Ferdinand also embodies Jameson’s notion of the postmodern citizen as a victim of “compensatory decorative exhilaration” or a mass media-addled mindset in which individuals lose the ability to distinguish truth from fiction or important issues from trivial ones.



Review/s:

“Tout Godard dans un seul film? Oui, oui, c’est possible. Prométhéen, poétique, génial, considéré comme son chef-d’œuvre.” — Les Inrocks

“This movie is a symphony in the key of red, obsessed by contemporary design and semiotics, and oddly meticulous in its deconstruction of classical filmmaking, the crime genre — even musicals.” — The Telegraph





The film, which is 1 hour and 25 minutes long, will be shown in its original version (French) with English subtitles (Français sous-titrée en anglais).

Film screenings are subject to changes without prior notice. Entrance is free but on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations.



Alliance Française de Manille is located at 209 Nicanor Garcia Street (formerly Reposo Street), Bel-Air 2, Makati City.

For inquiries, you may call 895-7585 / 895-7441.

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