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Ferdinand Griffon (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is unhappily married and has been recently fired from his job at a TV broadcasting company. After attending a mindless party full of shallow discussions in Paris, he feels a need to escape and decides to run away with his baby-sitter, an ex-girlfriend, Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), leaving his wife and children and bourgeois lifestyle. Following Marianne into her apartment and finding a corpse, Ferdinand soon discovers that Marianne is being chased by Algerian gangsters, two of whom they barely escape. Ferdinand (whom Marianne decides to call Pierrot, much to his annoyance) and Marianne go on a traveling crime spree from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea in the dead man's car. They lead an unorthodox life, always on the run. Settling down in the French Riviera after having burnt the dead man's car (full of money) and sunk a second car into the Mediterranean Sea, their relationship becomes strained. Ferdinand ends up reading books, philosophising and writing in his diary. Marianne becomes bored of the Robert Louis Stevenson-ness of their living situation and insists they return to town, where in a night-club they meet one of their pursuers. The gangsters waterboard Ferdinand and depart. In the confusion, Marianne and Ferdinand are separated, with Marianne traveling in search of Ferdinand and Ferdinand settling in Toulon. After their eventual reunion, Marianne uses Ferdinand to get a suitcase full of money before running away with her real boyfriend, to whom she had previously referred as her brother. Pierrot shoots Marianne and her boyfriend, and, in the climactic scene, paints his face blue and decides to blow himself up by tying sticks of red and yellow dynamite to his head. Regretting his decision at the last second, he tries to extinguish the fuse, but he is blinded by the dynamite and is blown up.
Source : Wikipedia
Pierrot le Fou is a 1965 film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, starring Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo. The film is based on Obsession, a novel by Lionel White. It was Jean-Luc Godard's tenth feature movie, released between Alphaville and Masculine Feminine. The title translates as Pete the madman, but the film is usually released under its French title internationally. The film was the 15th highest grossing film of the year with a total of 1,310,580 admissions in France.
Themes and style
Like many of Godard's films, Pierrot le fou features characters who break the fourth wall by looking into the camera. It also includes startling editing choices; for example, when Pierrot throws a cake at a woman in the party scene, Godard cuts to an exploding firework just as it hits her. The film has many of the characteristics of the then dominant pop art movement, making constant disjunctive references to various elements of mass culture. Like much pop art the film uses visuals drawn from cartoons and employs an intentionally garish visual aesthetic based on bright primary colors such as red, blue, and yellow.
Pierrot le fou is sometimes seen as an early and paradigmatic example of postmodernism in film. The film's postmodern elements include its parodic but affectionate attitude towards American pop culture, its deliberate mixing of high and low art, its frequent dissection of popular movie conventions, and its use of a decentered, collage-like (or paratactic) narrative structure. The central character of Ferdinand also embodies Jameson's notion of the postmodern citizen as a victim of "compensatory decorative exhilaration" or a mass media-addled mindset in which individuals lose the ability to distinguish truth from fiction or important issues from trivial ones.
Sylvie Vartan was Godard's first choice for the role of Marianne but her agent refused.Godard considered Richard Burton to play the role of Ferdinand but gave up the idea.
As with many of Godard's movies, no screenplay was written until the day before shooting, and many scenes were improvised by the actors, especially in the final acts of the movie. The shooting took place over two months, starting in the French riviera and finishing in Paris (in reverse order from the edited movie).
Jean-Pierre Léaud was an uncredited assistant director on the movie (and also appears briefly in one scene).
The American film director in the party scene is Samuel Fuller as himself.
The Criterion Collection has recently announced that Pierrot le Fou will be one of its first titles released on blu-ray.
References in other works
- Mathieu Kassovitz's first short movie is called Fierrot le Pou (Fierrot the louse).
- In the Doctor Who episode Voyage of the Damned the Tenth Doctor quotes an oft repeated phrase from the film, "Allons-y, Alonso".
- The twentieth episode of Cowboy Bebop is entitled "Pierrot le Fou." The villain featured is referred to as "the Mad Pierrot".
- There is a quote from the film in the French/British/Italian movie The Dreamers, said by Eva Green in English.
- "One Word Emotions" is a 2010 pop/rock song by The Sour Notes that is themed and titled after the scene when Ferdinand interacts with director Sam Fuller, who describes the cinema: "Film is like a battleground. Love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In one word . . . emotion.”
- In Jean-Luc Godard's Masculine Feminine , Madeline (Chantal Goya) mocks Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud) , saying (as translated in English) "You haven't the guts, you're no Pierrot le Fou"
- The band "The Ambulars" released a song titled "Marianne & Ferdinand" in tribute to the film's protagonists.
Source : Wikipedia