TIFF Cinematheque presents a Summer in France: There’s much ado about ‘Pierrot le Fou’
Pierrot le Fou
Directed by Jean-Luc-Godard
A man who dares waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. A man who wastes an hour and fifty minutes is Jean-Luc Godard.
Godard himself once said that his Pierrot le Fou “is not really a film, it’s an attempt at cinema. Life is the subject, with [Cinema]Scope and colours as its attributes… In short, life filling the screen as a tap fills bathtub [sic] that is simultaneously emptying at the same rate”.
To Godard’s credit, his analogy can’t be more appropriate. As a tub empties and fills at the same rate, science will dictate that the water ultimately goes nowhere. The tide remains unchanged. It stagnates.
Godard’s attempt at cinema, Pierrot le Fou, is very much the same.
Allegedly shot without a script, the film’s lackadaisical momentum may just be intentional, Godard’s way of visualizing the idle nature of life, like his famous traffic jam sequence in Weekend.
But as it is, at an hour and fifty minutes, Pierrot le Fou is frustrating, an endlessly provocative piece of work that puts the spotlight on the storyteller, not the story.