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Bande à part

France, 1964 (MIFF 1965)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

This has been described as in some ways a return by director Jean-Luc Godard to the world of Breathless — the world of outsiders, of "fringe-people Most of the film lakes place in the suburbs of Pans, and Godard and his photographers have succeeded in transforming it into a setting of dream­like beauty and poignancy His three characters iplayed by Anna karma Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) are on the verge of crime, but as usual with Godard this does not exclude a kind of hysterical gaiety.

The film illuminates, with even greater clarity than before that no man's land between reality and fan tasy that Godard has made peculiarly his own. Arthur. Franz and Odile inhabit a strange, moon shuck landscape in which everything exists, but nothing quite seems lo belong. They plan a robbery which will end in violence, yet spend then thne practising dance routines in cafes, beating records for touring the Louvre, or racing their car in aim­less circles Throughout, though, the Heeling moments, when the elusive crystallisation of fact and fantasy take place, are unerringly pinned down — as when Godard's voice breaks in lo describe whal each of them feels In a sense, the whole film is a metaphor illustrating this glancing collision. when fantasy and realily merge, yet one may still remain unsure as to which is which. Bande a pari is a compelling film dominated In Godard's sure narrative control, and Coutard's barren, sombre finally dominating Paris suburbs. The questions it raises about Godard's development are almost equally provocative.

Prize of Youth Jury, Berlin Fesitval.

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