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Pierrot le fou (The Criterion Collection)

4.2 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews


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Editorial Reviews

Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), and leaves the bourgeoisie behind. Yet this is no normal road trip: genius auteur Jean-Luc Godard s tenth feature in six years is a stylish mash-up of consumerist satire, politics, and comic-book aesthetics, as well as a violent, zigzag tale of, as Godard called them, the last romantic couple. With blissful color imagery by cinematographer Raoul Coutard and Belmondo and Karina at their most animated, Pierrot le fou is one of the high points of the French new wave, and one last frolic before Godard moved ever further into radical cinema

Special Features

* - SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:
* - New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard
* - New video interview with actor Anna Karina
* - A "Pierrot" Primer, a new video program with audio commentary by filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin
* - Godard, l'amour, la poésie, a fifty-minute French documentary about director Jean-Luc Godard and his work and marriage with Karina
* - Archival interview excerpts with Godard, Karina, and actor Jean-Paul Belmondo
* - Theatrical trailer
* - New and improved English subtitle translation
* - PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Richard Brody, a 1969 review by Andrew Sarris, and a 1965 interview with Godard

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard
  • New video interview with actor Anna Karina
  • A "Pierrot" Primer, a new video program with audio commentary by filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin
  • Godard, l'amour, la poesie, a fifty-minute French documentary about director Jean-Luc Godard and his work and marriage with Karina
  • Archival interview excerpts with Godard, Karina, and actor Jean-Paul Belmondo
  • Theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Richard Brody, a 1969 review by Andrew Sarris, and a 1965 interview with Godard

Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani, Dirk Sanders, Raymond Devos
  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZM1MIM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,093 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pierrot le fou (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 5, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
When I watched this film I found it to be quite unlike anything else I had seen. To really appreciate the flow of this one, I realised early on that I would have to cast aside my general expectations of a plot and storyline being the focus of the film and just see it as being a whole spectrum of experiences and emotions. I had heard that this film was shot without a script, and was almost entirely improvised by the director and the actors. This had the brilliant effect that on seeing it that there was a feeling that that anything could happen, and it carried a genuine sense of freedom and exhiliration, because the actors themselves were often actually experiencing for the first time whatever their impulse was for their characters to perform. When I first saw this I was very new to arthouse-type films and it really turned me on to the thinking that a film could simply be made up of emotion and experience, and that it doesn't necessarily have to be giving some moral or meaning or following some narrative structure, and that as an artform it could be improvised and therefore lived in at the same time that it was recorded. I watch this with a real feeling of being ALIVE. It's what inspired me to watch just about every new wave film around since I saw it. See it with a totally open mind and you might well get a bang out of it.
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Format: Blu-ray
In 1964, Jean-Luc Godard went to work on his tenth film, a color film titled "Pierrot Le Fou" which would feature his ex-wife Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo (who worked on Godard's "A bout de Souffle" (Breathless) and "Une femme est une femme" (A Woman is a Woman).

The film is his most ambitious film yet, not only reuniting with two stars that he has worked with before but the fact that elements of his previous nine films shows up on "Pierrot Le Fou".

The film was released by Fox Lorber in the US back in 1998 and received The Criterion Collection treatment in February 2008. Over a year later, the film became the first Jean-Luc Godard film released by the Criterion Collection on Blu-ray.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

"Pierrot Le Fou" is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 Aspect Ratio). The film is probably the most gorgeous film I have seen by Jean-Luc Godard to date. The film is full of colors, absolutely vibrant, reds and blues just pop. For fans of Godard's '60s work, "Pierrot Le Fou" is his most colorful film. It's important to note that the restored high-definition digital transfer was approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard.

Accord to Criterion, the HD digital transfer was created on Spirit Datacine from the 35mm negative and color corrected on a Specter Virtual Datacine. Thousands of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS system and Pixl Farm's PFClean system, while Digital Vision's DVNR system was used for small dirt, grain and noise reduction.

"Pierrot Le fou" is featured in its original French language and features a monaural soundtrack remastered at 24-bit from a 35 mm optical track print.
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Format: DVD
Godard's first ten films are characterized as his most "new wave" of films (why Maculin/Feminin and Weekend aren't "new wave" is beyond me. Perhaps it has to do with Anna Karina and Godard's separation, though they had divorced before filming Alphaville). Anyway, if this indeed is his last new wave film, it serves as a sort of masters thesis of everything that he made before.

Ferdinand/Pierrot (Jean-Paul Belmondo, wonderful) lives an unsatisfying life of domesticity with his rich, vapid Italian wife. Marianne (the beautiful, amazing Anna Karina), a since forgotten fling of Ferdinand's appears in his life once again, and the two undertake a spree of murder, poverty, cunning, theft and isolation. One of the bonus features on the second disc describes Pierrot as the reverse Breathless (Godard's first full length), and it makes sense. Here, Godard is self-referential, making sly gestures and nods at his previous work. Some of my favorite lines of any Godard film are here: Pierrot glad he hates spinach and his old man's monologue on writing and Joyce. Raoul Coutard's filmography is, once again, stunning. The film is awash in blues, in comic book two-tones, which Karina's red dress stands out as an ode to non-conformity.

Of course this is a long film, and though its structure is completely linear, the odd sense of time in it may detract viewers (I for one love it). Different elements and characters seem to be thrown in at odd times, but eschewing the normalcy and heightening the artificiality of cinema was Godard's intentions. Some might see this as arty pretension, well it is. But as a film lover I'm rather tired of movies I watch once and everything is handed to me neatly. Anything demanding close repeated watching is the only thing worth watching, personally.
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Format: DVD
My exposure to Godard films were through VHS tapes. I was too young to watch his 60's films in their original formats. The transfer is not too great but good enough. The colors are right, it is thankfully letterboxed, etc. even if there are a few image distortions, artifacts and the sharpness and overall quality leaves a lot of room for improvement. There is something very wrong, however, with the sound especially towards the fifth chapter (that's the 5th access in the chapter search of which there are only 6 - thanks to Fox/Lorber!) Thankfully, this is a subtitled film (can't be switched off/on, they're pasted on the screen) otherwise, even the French won't understand the French dialogue. The noise distortion is terrible, but could it be Godard's deliberate way to convey sound since it is the part in which the CB radios or walkie-talkies were being used in the scene? My impression is that the technician in charge was probably asleep or didn't care when this noise distortion was taking place and the DVD didn't go through quality control which could have fixed it. I haven't seen the original so I don't know but since this is a Godard film, anything goes. But then the distortion continued even after that scene so any reasoning to defend Fox's negligience on this matter proved futile. I found it terribly distracting and I thought it pulled down the quality all the more of this already mediocre DVD transfer. Is this the best version yet? How does the VHS version rate? Fox/Lorber is hit and miss with DVDs. They did good with Seven Beauties, Last Year at Marienbad, and the already LD Criterion-restored Umbrellas of Cherbourg and 400 Blows but did very poorly with A Woman is a Woman, several Truffaut films and even the relatively recent Padre Padrone.Read more ›
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