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Bande á part (1964)
A Review By Ben Hunter
5 Out Of 5 Stars

GET TO THE POINT BEN!

Intriguing and purposeful dialogue, action, and overall storytelling; sheer brilliance! 

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The New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague, “No-Vell Vag”) is in full swing, and French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard (Shjawn-Luke Go-Dard) is in his seventh film not knowing he’d be creating a masterpiece that would be a pioneer to this movement of filmmaking and would change the history of cinema forever. 

Odile (Anna Karina) meets a young man Franz (Sami Frey) in class and shares that a large sum of money is stashed in the house where she temporarily lives with her aunt, Madame Victoria, and a man named Miseur Stolz in a nearby suburb.  Franz informs his friend Arthur (Claude Brasseur) about the money, the girl, their nascent or newly developed romance and the three devise a plan to steal the money.  This sends them on an unusual and alluring adventure as Arthur’s uncle finds out about the money and wants a cut, the romance shifts between the leads in an intriguing and artistic manner with each beautifully and purposefully written and executed scene. 

The way our lead characters interact with one another was simply refreshing to witness and experience.  When they’re together, say in the café (my favorite scene), the blocking is so incredible to witness.  Everything, the movement, the dialogue, etc is on purpose where everything has a message behind it; and it just looks like 3 friends hanging out and just being themselves doing as they please after class.  The reflections in the windows, the shifting of seats, the interest and then disenchantment in the dancing, everything has a purpose and further serves the theme and overall plot of the story.  That message being “to do something apart from the group” and to be your own individual.  Servicing the titular value, as well as the overall French New Wave movement that the film is apart of. 

I really enjoyed experiencing the innocence or the virginity of life with Anna Karina’s character Odile.  It was more of the things she didn’t say and not the things she did that won me over and really brought this theme of standing apart to my eyes.  Her facial expressions conveyed a need to want to fit in but to want to be your own person at the same time.  So if that means mingling with outsiders who are different from society, then so be it.  Yet the confliction in her heart would always shine through as her inner feelings to coincide with the conservative idealism of society reared their righteousness whenever morality was conflicted.  She was very much a pleasantry to experience and her acting plays a large part in why I want to continue to study this era of film and how it played and continues to play a major contribution in Hollywood as well as with overall cinematic history.

This film is where the term “artsy” basically comes from.  This era in general, but in particular with this film is where the “arthouse” style of filmmaking really gets going and finds its legs.  A style that started out with low budget filmmaking and has progressed to big budget production yet still giving that “artistic” vibe, all deriving its roots from this era.  It’s not solely from this era as other styles of film before here play a part as well.  But The French New Wave definitely contributes a significant amount that has beautifully resonated throughout film history and with Hollywood throughout the decades.

Be sure to check this one out and see if it gets you on the new wave movement of sheer brilliance and enchantment as well! 

Bande á part (Band Of Outsiders)
Drama, 97 Minutes, Not Rated
Written & Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard
Based Upon the Novel “Fools’ Gold” by Dolores Hitchens
Cast: Anna Karina, Sami Frey, Claude Brasseur, Danièle Girard, Louisa Colpeyn

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