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Better A Second Time
on 4 August 2012
Bought this recently from Amazon,noticed wide mix of reviews/ratings (Godard always did divide opinion) so thought I'd add my own two penneth.
Firstly, watch it at least twice, and preferably within a few days. On first viewing, I found it rather annoyingly disjointed and indulgent. But the second viewing open my eyes and mind to see more in it - OK it's got Godard's Hollywood/Gangster obsessions in there & seemingly improv scenes (Anna Karina denied this, saying Godard always rehearsed each scene). But it is vibrant, quick-paced, colourful and visual stunning (hats off to Raoul Coutard once again), dramatic, yet comical and even has some 'musical' bits for good measure! Plus Belmondo oozes cool and wears ace threads, and Karina is utterly stunningly beautiful to watch in this femme fatale role.
It is much better than the vastly over-rated 'Le Mepris'(Colourful,has Bardot and Palance, yes, but boy is it S L O W and unabsorbing). Halliwell thought the latter was excellent, yet dismissed both 'Pierrot Le Fou' and especially 'Bande A Part' as rubbish. Both are far superior films IMHO. 'Pierrot' shares 'Le Mepris's wonderful use of technicolor for exterior locations (here the sumptuous South of France), but also shows signs that Godard was already thinking about 'Weekend'- Tracking shots are often used, and there's a scene where B & K encounter a crashed car in the countryside with injured/ dead passengers and K convinces B to leave their own car there and make it look like they too crashed.
Karina was of course 'Mrs Godard' in the 60's and played a wide range of characters in each successive film they made together. Here she is involved with terrorists, where dead bodies are casually displayed in shot without any reference to their presence; yet when the film starts, she is also Belmondo's babysitter! She looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous throughout, and look out for the scene with the scissors in close-up, you can get postcards with this iconic image (I got one in Paris years ago) - a better image of ice-cool femme fatale you won't see.
Its not a perfect film, but it is well worth sticking with if the first viewing doesn't do it for you. As well as extras mentioned in other reviews, you can either watch original French with subtitles, or the default English overdubbed version, personally I recommend the former as some scenes are left untranslated in the overdubbed one. So four stars, not perfect, but very good - definitely worth it.