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Title: Bande à part
English Title: Band of Outsiders
Country: France
Language: French
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Writer: Jean-Luc Godard / Dolores Hitchens (original novel)
Runtime: 95 min


Main Cast:
Anna Karina - Odile
Claude Brasseur - Arthur
Sami Frey - Franz

Brief Plot Summary:
A young woman, charmed by two morally ambivalent, restless young men, agrees to help them committ a robbery.

Highlights:
A quintessential Godard film, the film is not really defined by its thrown-together plot, but by the various set pieces and references that he throw into the mix. Here are some of the most effective bits:

  • Arthur and Franz playfully re-enact the death of Billy the Kid, like two children playing cowboys. Sets up the playful, silly tone of the film, and foreshadows the conclusion.
  • The three protaganists, given an afternoon to kill, decide to attempt to break the record for the fastest tour through the Louvre. We see them sprinting through the museum at breakneck pace. They make it through in under ten minutes.
  • At one point, Franz wonders aloud what a full minute of silence would sound like. The three decide to attempt it, and Godard aids them by completely cutting out all ambient noise as well for the duration. Appearances can be deceiving, however; this "minute of silence" in fact only lasts for 35 seconds.
  • About twenty minutes into the film, Godard's narrator gives a brief recap to catch latecomers up. "For new comers arriving now, we offer a few words chosen at random. Three weeks earlier. A pile of money. An English class. A house by the river. A romantic girl."
  • And of course, the infamous Madison scene, where the three all perform a popular line dance (the Madison) together in one unbroken shot. Godard, as narrator, fades down the music three times during this scene to describe what's going through each of the character's minds. (It is often said that the Jack Rabbit Slim's scene in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction was an homage to this scene, but I don't see it. Tarantino did, however, name his production company A Band Apart, in a reference to the French title of this film).

References:
People in life quote as they please, so we have the right to quote as we please. Therefore I show people quoting, merely making sure that they quote what pleases me.
-Jean-Luc Godard, Cahiers Du Cinema, December 1962.
At various times, Godard references Jack London, Arthur Rimbaud, Raymond Queneau, Franz Kafka (Frey's character is named Franz because Godard thought he bore a resemblance to Kafka), T.S. Eliot, Charlie Chaplin, Romeo and Juliet, Michel Legrand's score to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and Hamlet.


Sources:
The Internet Movie Database
The booklet to the Criterion edition DVD

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