Pierrot le Fou

By Whitehead, Peter | Framework, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Pierrot le Fou


Whitehead, Peter, Framework


This essay collects the reviews of films by Godard that Whitehead wrote for Films and Filming. The review of One Plus One was prepared by Whitehead after seeing the film in 1968, but it did not appear in the magazine. It is published here for the first time.

Pierrot le Fou

Directed by Jean- Luc Godard. Produced by Georges de Beauregard. Screenplay by Godard, from a novel by Lionel White. Director of photography, Raoul Coutard. Editor, Francoise Colin. Music, Antoine Duhamel. A Rome- Paris Films- Dino De Laurentiis co- production. Distributed by Gala. En glish sub- titles. Techniscope. Eastman colour. Cert A. 112 mins.

Ferdinand, JEAN- PAUL BELMONDO; Marianne, ANNA KARINA; the brother, DIRK SANDERS; Maria, GRAIELLA GALVANI; with RAYMOND DEVOS; ROGER DUTOIT; HANS MEYER; TIMMY KAROUBU; JEAN- PIERRE LEAUD; and SAMUEL FULLER.

Two weeks ago a number of newspapers reported a "story" about the murder of an eigh teen year old bride, a day after her night long wedding party. She was found nude, strangled by her husband's tie and a pair of scissors was embedded in her heart. In all cases the story was described as an "LSD Murder" simply because a number of guests at the party were "under the influence" of the drug.1

Godard's preoccupation with what Sam Fuller describes in the film as the battleground nature of cinema-"love, hate, action, violence, death- in one word- the emotions," his obsession with the accidental, absurd juxtaposition of events, with the home double and equally important, with dreams, myths, self- delusion, have never seemed so perfectly integrated into the "reality" of a film than in Pierrot le Fou. The film starts with Belmondo/ Ferdinand/Pierrot in his bath, reading about Velasquez. As he reads, the theme of the film is clearly stated . . . "the artist is concerned no longer with the rendering of objects but with the space and silence that surrounds them." Godard, and Ferdinand, confronted with the inexplicable Marianne, the object of their love, in their confusion, resort to thinking about that silent dimension that exists forever between people and beyond them. Marianne, perfectly played by Anna Karina, and her lover Ferdinand, whom she calls Pierrot, compare the things they love in life. She loves what is tangible, flowers, blue sea, animals, while he says ambition, hope, the motion of things, accidents. She concludes that it's not surprising that they never understood each other, that such a space will always separate them. That void, that gulf, is the reality which we wish to deny, to escape from, which we fill with dreams, myth and despair, which Godard fills with his films.

Pierrot le Fou is to Godard what The Seventh Seal was to Bergman. The latter took the style and form of a Ghelderode play to make his statement about our crusade towards life and away from its suffering, while Godard paints picture in film, which is part Roman a quatre sous, part "Gangster Movie," part "Pop- Art Montage Collage," but in the end, pure Godard.2

Ferdinand is bored to death with his rich wife. At a ghastly party, all TV commercials, he meets a former girlfriend Marianne Renoir. He escapes with her to her place. The following morning, having found it necessary however, to eliminate her boyfriend/partner in crime, having casually ignored the body of a man murdered by a pair of scissors embedded in his neck (as if it was just a story they'd read in a newspaper that morning), on an impulse they abandon themselves to the South.

He is beguiled into Marianne's dream- like world, into her crazy adventure story. He is betrayed later because for her it is real. She warns him she wants their love to be short and sweet, but his despair has trapped him. He embarks with her on the "trip," their-"Story, all mixed up, like an escape from a dream, in silence, in silence, in silence." They are two characters not content to read about excitement and adventure, who risk everything (which for him is nothing) to enact such a life in reality. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Pierrot le Fou
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.