• Band of Outsiders or Bande à part makes for a worthy companion to Breathless. These may be the two most accessible works of Godard’s career (not that he’s an auteur where “accessibility” is a major focus)
  • It is 95-minutes, far less heavy than the films between this and Breathless (Band of Outsiders is his seventh film overall). He’s back in the crime genre, though this is more of a Godardian postmodern riff on the heist film where he takes the air and suspense out of it completely. Though they are all playful and reflexive in their own ways, his previous efforts have been about the death of a prostitute (Vive Sa Vie), torture (Le Petite Soldat), war (Les Carabiniers), and the disintegration of a marriage (Contempt)
  • It starts with a very weird Michel Legrand (who does the score like so many of the best New Wave films)- “For the last time on the screen Music by Michel Legrand” (of course like many things Godard declares, it is simply not true). Playful winking.
  • It is just so chic and silly– in many ways closer to Shoot the Piano Player from Truffaut than anything from Godard. Sami Frey’s Franz and Claude Brasseur’s Arthur call dibs on Anna Karina’s character before pretending to be Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid shooting each other in gest with their fingers in the street
  • Godard is still just mesmerized by the presence of Karina- as he should be. In the English class scene we get the reading of Romeo and Juliet set to close-ups of Karina with those wide eyes and long eyelashes. This is the third Godard film about a love triangle (A Woman is a Woman, Contempt)—all vastly different. Jealously is an important theme though in his body of work.

Godard is still just mesmerized by the presence of Karina- as he should be

  • Self-referential of course- “how do you say one-million-dollar film?”- a wink at Contempt
  • The postmodern heist film—Bottle Rocket– Wes Anderson had to have been influenced by this. The actual crime is hilariously bad.
  • Godard keeps you at a distance—more about the head than the heart—a great scene where they have a minute of silence (actually 36 seconds) and the entire sound mix drops out in a busy café- very energetic and reflexive “YOU ARE WATCHING A MOVIE”

The film is known for two famous sequences. First, in the café we get the dance sequence from minute 47-51. Again, Godard picks up the record needle and drops the soundtrack in and out leaving them just clapping at times. The fact that these three know the same routine and sequence is part of the joke- as if to say this could only look this good in the movies.

The second famous sequence is the hysterical Louvre run-joke where the three of them run through the Louvre in 9-minutes and 43 seconds (Godard cuts it to about 15 seconds). The shot of two men and a woman running is sort of cemented as the New Wave image here (Jules and Jim)

  • A dutch angle at the 81-minute mark—but again, Godard is in a hurry, most scenes are shot in one take, I’m not sure there is any subtext intended
  • The goofy shootout—Godard wants you to laugh at what would be the most serious moment in most films
  • “isn’t it strange how people stay separate, two never form a whole” and “my story ends here like a pulp novel”
  • Highly Recommend/Must-See border