18 July 2005

Band Of Outsiders

I finally got to see a film this weekend that I've read about for years: Jean-Luc Godard's Band Of Outsiders (Bande à part).

The film's plot concerns a young woman named Odile, who meets two dodgy characters in her English class, Arthur and Franz. Before the movie starts, she has told them that she lives in a villa outside of Paris with her aunt and a boarder who has a lot of money stashed in a cupboard in his room. Naturally, they hatch a plan to steal it.

But the plot of Band Of Outsiders is secondary to Godard's stylistic pranks and loose, naturalistic storytelling. Godard said he wanted to do things in this movie that "you weren't supposed to do." Things like:

  • During a sequence where the three characters are dancing in a cafe, the director occasionally stops the music and tells us, in voiceover, what each of the three is thinking at that moment.

  • When Franz suggests that a minute of silence can feel like a VERY long time, Odile insists they try it. The soundtrack goes silent, and the characters sit, fidgeting, for a minute. (Actually, I think it's less than a minute, but it feels longer!)

  • When one of the men says, early on, that they will hatch a plan to steal the money, Odile responds, "Un plan?" Then she looks directly at the camera and asks, "Pourquoi? (Why?)"

This is only the second Godard film I've seen, my first being the intriguing but nearly impenetrable Alphaville , which I have since read is a bad place for a Godard beginner to start. (No wonder I was so baffled by it.) After seeing Band Of Outsiders, though, I really want to give some more of Godard's films a look.


Blogger Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

I haven't seen that -- like you, the only Godard I've seen (well, uh, until now for you, heh) is Alphaville, which I didn't really care for, but was glad I saw, if for nothing else, the beautiful photography. I thought the story was a little eh/cliched/could have been handled better, but oh my god, what a gorgeous film.

12:10 PM, July 18, 2005  
Blogger Lee H. said...

I actually forgot to mention the required factoid about this movie: Quentin Tarantino's production company is named after it; the French title is Bande à part, and his company is called (as you see at the start of all his films) "A Band Apart." I've been thinking about this movie and trying to see how it might have been an influence on QT, and while I was completely baffled at first, I'm starting to see a few connections, I think. I want to watch Band Of Outsiders again before I try to figure it out, though.

8:36 PM, July 20, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home