MOVIE REVIEW | ***FOREIGN LANGUAGE WEEKEND*** Band of Outsiders (1964)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Highlights the natural world of these people, while making it so cinematically stylish all at once.”

Band 1
The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.

“Now is the time for a digression in which to describe our heroes’ feelings.”

He’s one of the founding fathers of the French New Wave, one of the most important and influential watersheds in movie making history.  So it’s kind of disgraceful that this is the first Jean-Luc Godard movie I’ve written about here on Bored and Dangerous.  The fact that I have dedicated weekends to foreign language movies in 2106, have already written about 50 odd of them, and  this is the first Jean-Luc Godard movie, is just embarrassing.  But better late than never, Godard is finally making an appearance here as writer and director, with Band of Outsiders.

Meeting in their English class, Odile (Anna Karina), Franz (Sami Frey) and Arthur (Claude Brasseur) form an almost immediate love triangle with both men obviously attracted to the young woman.  But they’re drawn together by more than just the desire to bone down.  Odile tells Franz about a large pile of cash, stashed in the villa on the outskirts of Paris that she shares with her aunt (Louise Colpeyn), and the money’s rightful owner, Monsieur Stoltz.  The three immediately start planning a heist of the money, with their various attractions to each other never far from anyone’s mind.

My knowledge of the French New Wave is limited at best.  But from what I understand, people like Godard and François Truffaut began their filmic revolution by bucking a lot of the trends of movie artificiality, going for something more real and natural.  They both revelled in showing the mundane and even ugly sides of their home city of Paris, so famous for its beauty.  And they were big into real locations, natural lighting and trimming any fat.  And the best parts of Band of Outsiders are when Godard finds ways to be real and gritty, while indulging in cinematic trickery at the same time.

When a conversation between the core trio proves awkward and stilted, Arthur suggests a minute’s silence.  When it begins Godard doesn’t just have his characters stop speaking, he drops every sound effect and background noise as well, for absolute silence in the world of the movie, and in the viewing experience of the audiences.
Band 2
Minutes later, the three perform a synchronized dance.  Every time the voice of the narrator chimes in to deliver the character’s inner thoughts, Godard kills the music from the soundtrack, so all we can here is their feet hitting the ground in lock step and the clicks of their fingers.  It such as cool trick that highlights the natural world of these people, while making it so cinematically stylish all at once.

Band of Outsiders
Directed By – Jean-Luc Godard
Written By – Dolores Hitchens

Other Opinions Are Available.  What did these people have to say about Band of Outsiders?
Slant Magazine
Pauline Kael
Laramie Film Society

2 thoughts on “MOVIE REVIEW | ***FOREIGN LANGUAGE WEEKEND*** Band of Outsiders (1964)

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