As per my earlier post, I said that I will post about Godard’s PIERROT LE FOU and I will. However, as anyone who has some idea of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s (or better known as Gabo) work, will notice from the title of this post that I am about to write something about his CHRONICLE OF A DEATH FORETOLD.
It is a short novel about the death of a guy who is foretold, i.e. the whole town knows that he is going to be killed, when and where he is going to be killed and why he is to be killed. However, somehow, no one does anything about it and he indeed was killed in a most gruesome way, without a clue himself why he has to suffer such a fate. In fact, it is almost bewildering why it is that the whole town knows that he is going to die but this news seem to escape him.
The reason for his murder is simple; the twin brother of a girl wants to redeem the family and their sister’s honour because the sister was returned home by her new husband because he found out the night itself that she is not a virgin. The girl was beaten and asked to confess who is the guy who stained her and she named the unfortunate guy. However, no one really believes that he is the guy, which is probably one reason why the guy has a puzzled look when his killers went after him. Who is the real guy who took her virginity? Well, it was left silent in the novel.
In the midst of this storytelling, there are many things that Gabo did that made the story click and enjoyable to read, the details and the occasional mystery and magic that he pumped in. All in all, this is a superb novel and anyone who wishes to have something enjoyable to read over a weekend can pick this book up.
Now about PIERROT LE FOU. Godard. Jean-Luc Godard. What a director he is. This movie was released in 1965, hot in the midst of the French New Wave. This movie reminds me of many movies, although it is of itself very unique. It reminds me, most of all, of BREATHLESS and of BONNIE AND CLYDE. It won’t be a wonder if it actually had some influence on BONNIE AND CLYDE which was released two years after this movie. In those years, movies influence each other as it is apparent that Hollywood movie influenced European movies a whole lot, and in fact inspired the European filmmakers a big deal. It is no surprise to see many Hollywood references in European movies and if one has seen THE DREAMERS, one will also have an appreciation on the fireworks that Hollywood had on European, particularly French cinema.
If anything, PIERROT LE FOU is made such a good movie by its actors, both Jean-Paul Belmondo whose excellent performance we have also seen in BREATHLESS and Anna Karina whom we have seen in many movies, especially BAND OF OUTSIDERS and MY LIFE TO LIVE, one of my favourite Godard movies.
PIERROT LE FOU is about a guy and his so-called girlfriend, who is quite sick of a boring life and seeks adventure. They are free spirits and could not stand Jules Vernes for long and had to go for a gangster movie once in a while. The ending is tragic but is befitting. The film techniques is, ermmm, technical, employing strong primary colours, uses of cuts, repetitive dialogue, looking at the camera and talking to the audience (not as subtle as the final scene in Truffaut’s 400 BLOWS but is also very effective), etc. On the latter, i.e. looking at the audience, it is somehow effective, for example, in a scene, Belmondo is looking at the camera and talking and Karina asked him what he is doing and the effect is that they are conscious of an audience watching them and the audience is made conscious that the actors on the screen knows that someone is watching them and listening to what they are saying. This is especially so when they are on the run from the law.
PIERROT LE FOU is really a celebration of cinema. One feels happy after watching the movie, and as Gabo felt after reading Kafka’s THE METAMORPHOSIS where he suddenly realized that novels can be written in that way, after watching PIERROT LE FOU, one also realizes that “oh, movies can also be made like this”.
A gem and masterpiece indeed.