"Free-wheeling, inventive comedy ... a joy to watch." – New York Times
In director Jerzy Skolimowski's first film completed outside of Poland, Jean-Pierre Léaud plays Mark, a manic car aficionado, who spends his time flirting with older women in order to drive their luxury wheels. After he courts the similarly unhinged Michèle, the two build for themselves a consequence-free reality of cars and carnage, entrancing and destructive in equal measure.
Winning Berlin's Golden Bear upon its release in 1967, The Departure was the moment in which Skolimowski (Essential Killing, MIFF 11) established himself as a major force in the cinéma-vérité movement, with help from Léaud's exuberantly mercurial performance. Playful, incisive and moving, it represented a new highpoint in spirited 1960s cinema, and an absurd, frenetic document of a youthful generation struggling to find something in which it could believe.
For further information on The Departure, read the Senses of Cinema dossier.