Saturday, February 16, 2008

Poor Pierrot

Interesting that the new Criterion DVD of Godard's Pierrot Le Fou adds color filters to the party scene early in the movie, including a green filter for the famous cameo by Samuel Fuller. As the DVD Beaver comparison shows, other DVD versions don't have this filter and it doesn't seem to be in the actual negative. The cinematographer supervised the new release and some people online report having seen it filtered this way in theatres, so I guess it must be authentic, but I'm not sure why, if they wanted the scene tinted, they wouldn't have just added it in the lab.

Incidentally, the influence isn't mentioned at all in the DVD booklet or in the extras I've seen so far, but I find Pierrot Le Fou to be Godard's "cartoon" movie. Godard was a huge fan of Frank Tashlin as a critic -- probably the critic who did the most to help establish Tashlin's reputation in France -- and the vivid colors are his tribute to painting but just as much, I think, to the in-your-face color in movies like Artists and Models and The Girl Can't Help It. The fourth-wall breaking (Anna Karina asks Jean-Paul Belmondo who he's talking to; he says "the audience") and absurd interludes are very Tashlinesque too.

And of course the final scene is really kind of a Wile E. Coyote gag in live action. It really does seem like the animated cartoon was a big inspiration for this movie, and that Godard turned what started out to be another neo-noir idea into a bizarre live-action cartoon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My admittedly ancient but still serviceable laserdisc of PIERROT -- from the '80s Interama theatrical reissue -- features color filters at certain points during the party sequence, but the scene with Fuller is definitely unfiltered.

The Tashlin tribute idea is interesting -- for some reason, PIERROT reminds me a little of GEISHA BOY!