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4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 9 February 2011
Godard made this film after the high production values of Le Mepris.You feel he's unwinding,having a good time.A tribute to Hollywood pulp crime movies of the 40s and the love affair with his wife,Anna Karina.The plot is taken from Fool's Gold,a crime novel,by Dolores Hitchens.Godard uses a basic plot,Odile meets Franz(Frey)in an English language class and with his friend,Arthur(Brasseur),forming a semi-love triangle,embark on a plan to rob her aunt of some laundered cash in a cupboard.This is at least up there with Breathless and Pierre Le Fou.There is no narrative.There is a string of inconsequential set-pieces,sly cross-references,literary allusions and quotations.

These range from Rimbaud,Kafka,Poe,Novalis,Shakespeare,Jack London,Aragon and Queneau.Arthur and Franz act out the shooting of Billy the Kid by Pat Garrett,prior to their inept criminal adventure.This is a suburban western, replete with suburban boredom and banality.The men's stamping ground is drab streets,dingy cafes and builders' yards on the city's outskirts,along the Marne,in pre-war type settings.Their car is another character,driving round in circles,expressing their freedom and ebullience.Misfits even with each other,they remain isolated and

self-absorbed.'Isn't it strange',Franz muses.'how people never form a whole?'Even in the iconic Madison dance sequence, and the 9 minute record-breaking run through the Louvre, though in sync,their disconnection is their cool.The men read out from newspapers about local petty murders,crimes,world news on a riverbank.Karina,Godard's muse,has never been better,gauche,naïve,giddy and starry-eyed, drifting helplessly between the two men,making love with her eyes.Godard at his most experimental,plays with the conventions of cinema,with voice-over narrations, commenting upon the character's thoughts;mocking the banality of the story:'the robbery must wait until nightfall,

thus respecting the tradition of bad B-pictures'.Godard charms us breaking all the rules of cinema,eg,observing a minute's silence by cutting off the soundtrack,speaking to camera,letting you know you're watching a film,mingling real deaths with fake deaths.Under the comedy is a painful sense of suburban drabness and boredom, unemployment, frustration, and disillusionment -- reflected in Raoul Coutard's superb capturing of overcast weather and polluted river vistas in varying shades of grey, as well as in the sad and wistful waltzes of Michel Legrand's score.Summarising for 'latecomers':"a pile of money, a home by the river, a romantic girl."Godard keeps us in touch with his process.
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on 13 November 2013
Intrigued by the film LeWeekend and the dance sequence, the Maddison, we decided to watch this film. It was interesting to watch and learn more about this film genre
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 3 December 2001
'Bande a Part' is fantastic- up there with 'A Bout de Souffle' and Truffaut's 'Tirez sur la Pianiste'...As with 'Breathless', it takes American noir conventions. And then some...There are references to philosphy, to America- and there is a sleazy- Cain/McCoy undertone; albeit, relocated to a black & white Paris...The male-male-female triad is perplexing- and reminiscent of the one in 'Jules et Jim'. Godard undercuts the 'expected' conventions- the end seems low-key and ultra-ironic. You can see Godard tiring of the expected rules of cinema- as Beckett tired of language- in the end where Godard the narrator deadpans the characters outcome. The best scenes are where the threesome decide to beat the record set for going round the Louvre, set by an American (the time is, yawn, the same as it takes Harvey Keitel's character to get to QT's house in 'Pulp Fiction'). Oh, and the dance scene here is as great as ever- surely it influenced other films beside the obligatory 'Pulp Fiction'? (Hal Hartley shorts come to mind)...This is one of the best Godard films, along with 'Breathless', 'Weekend', 'Alphaville' & 'Masculin-Feminin' (avoid 'Eloge de l'amour' however!). A classic!
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on 3 June 2016
Adds a substantial amount to the Criterion BAND OF OUTSIDERS including a feature-length commentary track by Adrian Martin and a 31-minute interview with Anna Karina at BFI Southbank.
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on 6 January 2017
if you are a rebel. if you can love a Godard movie, this can be the one.
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on 3 October 2001
First Godard film I ever saw. I was very pleasantly suprised. Funny, good characters, and some great moments. Plot and narrative are put on a back burner while Godard concentrates on arty film shots and poetic voiceover, but that, for me, is the point. It's all about juxtapositions, and the dance scene in the cafe is absolutely superb
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on 16 June 2013
Stylish from the opening ride in the open-topped Simca through to the famous Madison in the bar about half way through and the sweet final coda. There are some great audacious and inventive moments, brilliant use of sound, Anna Karina's eyes in Loui's (sic) Language school, tons of puns (visual and linguistic) - there is just so much to watch and listen to. Some will query the thinness of the plot but I don't suppose that's the point. Some might get a bit fed-up with some of JLG's 23 voiceover 'interventions' although some are classics, especially the one where he welcomes latecomers by briefly recounting the plot. The extras are useful but sometimes (perhaps it's inevitable) there are pretentious-sounding comments not least from JLG himself claiming all sorts of things about what his characters represent - but maybe he has his tongue in his cheek. At 97 minutes, never gets tiresome as some have claimed.
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on 26 March 2011
Band a part is typical of its period. Not quite as vague as some French movies of the time, it benefits
from some set pieces - outstanding of which is the scene in the cafe, where Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur and Sami Frey dance the "Madison". For sheer spontaneous excitement, I would rank it pretty
close to Gene Kelly's Singin' in the Rain. As a complete film, Band a part is not Godard's best.
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on 20 February 2006
The film Bande a Part (The Outsiders) is widely considered Jean-Luc Godard’s best and most influential film. It was innovative in editing techniques and the use of narration in film and for these reasons, it appears on many film critics top 100 film lists. It is also commonly known that Quentin Tarintino has expressed his like for this film and named his production company (A Band Apart) after the film. He also makes reference to this films famous dance scene in ‘Pulp Fiction’ and he supposedly showed the scene to Uma Thurman and John Travolta so that they could be inspired.
All of these reasons inspired me to watch this movie and I was slightly disapointed with what I saw. The film is relatively short at 97 minutes but it feels as if it has gone on too long by the time you are finished. The characters are not very intriguing to the viewer, although it is possible that viewers might be inhibited by the use of subtitles. The plot is also hard to follow and many scenes seem to have little relevance to the story as a whole. However, there are some truly inspired scenes that help to redeem some of the more negative aspects. One other great point to the film is the stylish use of narration which has been copied in mass by other film makers and most notably in another French film, Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (Amélie).
Overall, this film is not for an average viewer looking for a night of entertainment. I suggest that this is an essential for a student of film because it was so revolutionary but the problem with revolutionary films is that they aren’t revolutionary any more and their techniques are over used.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 24 November 2015
“Bande à part" means ‘Band of outsiders’ and was made in earthy black and white in 1964. It has been hailed as a masterpiece and Quentin Tarrantino lists it as one of his faves – naming his production company after this film.

It centres around three people Franz, Arthur and Odile. They meet whilst learning English and Odile is a spirited thing, who lets on that she is living with a wealthy family in Joinville and loads of cash is kept lying about the place. They are a tad short on liquid assets but make up for it in manufactured charm and schoolboy enthusiasm for all things American – especially gangsters. So they persuade her to help them with the foreseeable heist.

Now that is simple but it is the detail and the acting that make this a stand out. There is a famous dance scene in this which seems impromptu but must have taken an eon of planning and to say it is both captivating and charming is well below the plaudits it deserves.

The acting can be very physical too at times and borders on the comedic, but it is all these things that are anything but ‘run of the mill’ that make this film so enchanting. I had to watch it twice to really appreciate it but this is one that I was truly glad I did. I don’t always agree with Mr Tarantino on his choice of films but in this particular occasion we are happily in concurrence.
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