... then you'll probably like this, which I have discovered to my dismay, I do not. I have tried to get into the films of this reputed master of the French New Wave but with little success. Unlike Rohmer or Truffaut for example - directors whose many films I greatly enjoy, the only Godard film I actually do like is Alphaville.
With Godard I always feel as if I'm missing something obscure. His preoccupation with gangsters, and self-conscious examination of film as a medium seem to me get in the way. In `Pierrot' there is an unnerving surrealism bordering on comic unreality to scene after scene. The fight scene at the gas station is purposefully filmed as being on the verge of slapstick. There is no indication as to why this is and it washes up ineffectually against the rocks of more serious comments on the Vietnam war.
For me, the film earns two of its stars in the first few minutes of the opening scenes where Jean-Paul Belmondo visits a book shop and chooses so many books he can barely carry them. He takes them home and reads from one to his young daughter. A recurrent and very satisfactory theme in French cinema is that the characters are portrayed actually reading!
The disc comes with a good range of extras, including an introduction by Colin McCabe and a feature commentary by Jean-Bernard Pouy. I found the introduction and commentary are essential to understanding the film, revealing Godard's estrangement from his wife (lead actress Anna Karina), his enjoyment of cinematic jokes, and France's disillusionment with both the cinema and politics of 1960s America.
After listening to the extras, I developed a sympathy for Godard. I found the introduction and commentary both provided invaluable insight to the mind of a person who is to me an enigmatic and elusive filmmaker. It is here the disc earned the third star and it is from these that I learned a great deal. For a taste of Godard, I'd try Alphaville, Breathless and Pierrot le Fou.