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Band of Outsiders (The Criterion Collection)

4.4 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Two restless young men (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of their desire (Anna Karina) to help them commit a robbery--in her own home. French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard takes to the streets of Paris to re-imagine the gangster genre, spinning an audacious yarn that's at once sentimental and insouciant, romantic and melancholy

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Raoul Coutard
  • Visual glossary, including film clips and stills, detailing cultural references and wordplay emplyed by Godard throughout Band of Outsiders
  • Exclusive video interviews with Raoul Coutard and actress Anna Karina
  • Interview excerpts with Godard from 1964 and rare behind-the-scenes footage of the director and his crew shooting Band of Outsiders
  • Two theatrical traiers, including Godard's original
  • New and improved English subtitle translation

Product Details

  • Actors: Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Danièle Girard, Louisa Colpeyn, Chantal Darget
  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Writers: Jean-Luc Godard, Dolores Hitchens
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 7, 2003
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007CVS2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,304 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Band of Outsiders (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
If there are any films that offer a wonderful sense of love for the cinema, they are the films of Jean-Luc Godard. But, as he explains in a brief interview from 1964 that is included with this fine DVD, he was also against film; that is, against the conventions and rules that predominated French cinema. So he introduced unconventional methods of telling stories and making movies and decided to include elements that films typically left out. "Band of Outsiders" is a playful, unconventional, mesmerizing tale of small-time gangsters and young love set in 1960s Paris. Its source material runs the gamut from the pulp crime novel on which it is based to the American B-movies and film noir that inspired its look. It's Godard's best love letter to Paris since "Breathless," and also one of the last of his true New Wave films.
The story might be simple enough: Arthur and Franz enlist the help of the young, beautiful Odile to stage a robbery. But if the story is simple, everything else around it is not. Here we find allusions and homages to Arthur Rimbaud (the poet whom one of the characters is named after), Franz Kafka, film composer Michel Legrand, "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, American cartoons, Jack London, Charlie Chaplin, Andre Breton, Andre Malraux, and numerous others. That's Godard doing his thing, and even if we miss those allusions, there's so much more to be cherished: the famous minute of silence, the running visit through the Louvre, the dance scene, the glorious closeups of Anna Karina, riding on the underground metro, the trio driving through the streets of Paris.
"Band of Outsiders" is playful, wondrous, hilarious, breezy, but at the same time melancholic, dark in its undertones.
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Format: VHS Tape
'Band of outsiders' is Jean-Luc Cinema Godard's most endearing film - a teen movie played by adults, a love story, a heist movie, a serial, a slapstick comedy, an anthology of New Wave magic. As with previous films, Hollywood genre is made a complete nonsense, continually deflated by extended bits of business, my favourite being the attempt to beat the record for racing down the Louvre's corridors just before the heist.
As with all early Godard, the joy of 'Band' is in the bouyant playfulness of his style - the high, long shots looking down on bustling activity; the long car-journeys through Paris streets; the intense close-ups on Anna Karina (Godard's wife), eluding all meaning, or the sheer rapture in watching her running along pavements, or crossing a river; the messing around disused yards; the lengthy quotes and allusions that stall the action and give resonance to the silly goings-on and the turmoil of the characters in them; the unwavering long takes with exciting real sound; the playful homages to old Hollywood; the narrator's bumptious intrusions, equating events with 'bad B-movies'.
More than Louis Malle's 'Zazie dans le metro', 'Band' is the ultimate Raymond Queneau film - Karina's character is named after the heroine of Queneau's roman a clef 'Odile', a book about the writer's break with the Surrealists, just as 'Band' signals Godard's outpacing the New Wave - with its deadpan marginal heroes, its elusive heroine who doesn't want to be elusive; its romanticising Paris, especially its margins and its pull to the embankments; the attractions like circuses and funfairs intruding on the everyday. Godard finds a cinematic equivalent for Queneau's narrative voice - its flip melancholy; its casual intellectualism; its move from messing about to the philosophical to slapstick to dreams to the tragic and back again; in the self-consciousness of the characters; in the narrative mix of whim, genre and destiny.
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Format: DVD
Clearly Godard's camera is in love with Anna Karina and this instructs the entire film. That face: Those big almond shaped eyes; innocent, curious, mysterious, mischievous. Odele caught in the prison of her budding sexuality. Oscar and Alex stuck in a web with her, each trapped for different reasons, but all three caught in a struggle manipulated by the puppet master, Godard. "Three weeks earlier, a pile of money. An English class. A house by the river. A romantic girl." A story as improbable as the "legend" of Billy the Kid! This film is derived out of a mixture of boredom, desire and desperation from a filmmaker at odds between love and revulsion of Americana and the cinematic experience in general. One often wonders if making movies is Godard's guilty pleasure. Rather than construct a story, he often seems more interested in deconstruction. His Paris is visually stark and cold, but there is also much beauty. Sadness and beauty: "it all depends upon how you frame the picture." Again I fall back to Odele/Karina. Odele is constantly reinventing herself, bouncing from sensation to sensation and Oscar, Alex and even the director himself are trying to grab hold, but she's far too illusive - even for the puppet master! Godard is in love with Odele/Karina and this is infectious. He is also in love with Paris and American movies and cannot help it. An intellectual trying desperately to reign in his emotions but failing brilliantly. This is why "Band of Outsiders" succeeds so well. There is much more at work in this film than Godard merely trying to be clever; the moment of silence, the "Madison" dance sequence, the Louvre world record. There is a welcome spontaneity fused together with impeccable technique.Read more ›
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