Bande à part

(Band of Outsiders)
France 1964. Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Cast: Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Sami Frey, Louisa Colpeyn, Danièle Girard

Quentin Tarantino named his production company after Godard’s Bande à part, one of the giddy glories of the French nouvelle vague — and “perhaps Godard's most delicately charming film” (Pauline Kael). Described by Godard as “Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka,” the film was his first return to the gangster genre since Breathless. Three Parisian students meet in English class and, under the influence of far too many Hollywood movies, plot a potentially lucrative burglary. Bande à part features a playful blend of quotes from Shakespeare, musical numbers, and self-conscious references to the relationship (and confusion) between cinema and reality. Ironic voice-over narration by the director summarizes the plot, explains the characters’ motives, and comments on the action. The opening titles credit the film to “Jean-Luc/Cinéma/Godard.” One memorable sequence has the three protagonists attempting to “do” the Louvre in a high-speed nine minutes. The Madison dance scene inspired the John Travolta-Uma Thurman twist in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. “One of Godard's most open and enjoyable films ... A fast and loose tale that continues his love affairs with Hollywood and with actress Anna Karina" (Chris Petit, Time Out). B&W, 35mm, in French with English subtitles. 95 mins.

 

REVIEWS

"This 1964 feature remains one of Godard's most appealing and underrated films, relatively relaxed and strangely optimistic."

Chicago Reader | full review

"Perhaps Godard's loveliest movie, certainly his tenderest and most accessible."

Salon | full review