Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...


Pierrot le Fou (Godard, 1965)

I watched Pierrot le Fou again because I had been thinking about it a great deal lately. I felt that I needed to see it again, now that my understanding of film is greater, and that it might become one of my favorite films if I saw it again now. So what is my new verdict? The film, like all of Godard, is hard to judge. Godard is mistrusting of emotion in film (no matter what Fuller says in this film) and what he is doing at the heart of his work is intellectual. That said Pierrot is a film of connected joys, of a gangster film, a musical, and a melodrama and tragedy. It offers compelling texts on all Godard's favorite themes, from art to relationships. It seems to state a basic disconnect between men and women, and indeed seems to hold that the same disconnect is within cinema and is what killed the world of Hawks and Ray.

Emotion versus intellect, but which side is Godard really on? It is hard to ignore the implicit and explicit misogyny of much of Godard's work, yet do we really relate or empathize any more with Ferdinand than Marianne? She is living her life, while his intellectualism cripples him. If he is an artist in search of a subject, why ignore the life being lived by the woman beside him? Or is that exactly what Godard is saying, and about himself no less. David Thomson suggested that Godard loved the image of Karina more than the woman herself, and Pierrot le Fou seems to be about that painful realization.

And in that light and in that way it become the most revealing of tragedies. Moments ago I was unsure of what to think of this film or how to place it within my own cannon. But now I see this as a tragedy of an artist, and Godard's own most self-critical and self damning works. It is perhaps his most modernist text and the height of his modernist cinema. It is a film that is powerfully moving after it is intellectualized, which means it is exactly what Godard intended. The artist himself has abdicated the film, but it may simply be to painful for him to acknowledge as anything more than bourgeois. Instead it is a tragedy of modernity, of art, of cinema and of Godard.

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