Band of Outsiders (1964)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Writers: Jean-Luc Godard, from a novel by Dolores Hitchens

Stars: Claude Brasseur, Sami Frey, Anna Karina, Daniele Girard, Louisa Colpeyn, Chantal Darget

Arthur (Claude Brasseur) and Franz (Sami Frey) are an amoral pair who have enlisted the naive Odile (Anna Karina) in a scheme to steal from her wealthy aunt in this playful French homage to the American genre of film noir.


Although the traditional structure is present (small-time criminals get in over their heads and meet with tragedy), director Jean-Luc Godard does not choose the earnest emphasis on plot that usually distinguishes such material.


He strips the "plot" to its bare essentials--three people are going to burglarize a house--and as if to acknowledge that such characters could never exist in the real world, he presents them as existentially challenged, melancholy misfits who lack a sense of connection with the everyday world and amuse themselves with impromptu breaks with reality such as a spontaneous dance in a cafe, a race through the Louvre to see everything in the shortest possible time, and pantomimed gunfights in the street.


This film walks a fine line between inviting both contempt for the unsympathetic characters as well as delight at the liberties Godard takes with the conventions of film and his chosen genre.



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