19 December 2015

What's up for five more days

The 50th anniversary restoration of Pierrot le Fou (I, II) is onscreen in NYC, which involved the lack of a negative or an orginal sound track among other daunting problems.  During shooting in 1966 the film's finances hadn't been secured ahead of time and Raoul Coutard insisted on utilizing the new technology of widescreen Techniscope color, after the last three features (Band of Outsiders, A Married Woman and Alphaville) were b/w, which involved more elaborate lighting setups, stressing Godard and the crew, but for now you can see projected Coutard's framing of the Riviera to 'Elle est retrouvée./ Quoi? - L'Éternité./ C'est la mer allée/ Avec le soleil.' Godard's sparing use of its source novel played up whatever natural psycho-social resemblance it had to Rimbaud's A Season in Hell, prompting its protagonist to tell a cocktail party given over sit-comedically to statements of consumerism that his senses weren't integrated, to be told by the guest he talks too much, to the various direct and indirect references thereafter.

Adapting dozens of literary sources at once, not sure why or which one to settle on, would plant the seeds of his recent style, and Godard reflected that Pierrot le Fou, arising out of his despair and confusion, was 'his first film,' coming after the genre structures of Alphaville (still my favorite) and Band of Outsiders (Americanized as Pulp Fiction) .  My favorite Welles film was The Lady from Shanghai, a bitter genre film of romantic betrayal starring his recent ex Rita Hayworth based very loosely on its novel, and though Anna Karina wasn't his first choice immediately after she left him for a mediocre director, Godard is even less restrained in abandoning genre to vent this emotions through the image of his ex.   Welles' Chimes at Midnight is also arriving in restored form Jan. 1 after its distribution rights have been blocked for years, and I've only seen bootleg versions and old vhs rental copies of it.