I am lucky...my daughter is a champion napper. As a mother who works from home, it is often my only chance at getting something done in the studio. Yesterday, however, it was one of those long, lazy, gratuitous afternoons that feels like summer in the middle of March. Bees were buzzing into the kitchen on the warm breeze, birds warbling in the hedges. I couldn't go anywhere, but I was just too full of a languid sense of well-being to do anything of great industry.
Browsing around Netflix, I found to my delight and surprise that they had Godard's Pierrot le Fou on their instant-play list.
Without a second thought, I settled in for the guilty pleasures of Godard in the afternoon.
This film is one of the most visually perfect ever made. If it weren't a film, it could be a cleverly-curated room at MOMA or the Pompidou. Spare, startling, full of primary colors and cultural reference, and just off-kilter enough to catch you off your guard.
That car! I must have exactly that car for my daughter. She's a huge fan of racing cars. She'd be tickled pink. Anyone know where I can find one?
The sets are a masterwork of understated perfection.
The effortless use of complimentary colors, just a degree off center.
The all-white apartment decorated with magazine pages and museum postcards.
How awesome is this frame of film?
And, of course, Belmondo's face.
The cache of heavy weaponry in the corner. The utterly offhand use of the body on the spare bed...like a forgotten coffeecup.
I mean, can you stand it? Look at the bedside table made from stacked suitcases.
Tell me this isn't a work of pop art in a single perfect frame.
One of my very favorite moments comes early in the film, when the two lovers have only just met. It's one of the many straight-through-the-windshield shots, and they're both sitting primly, he driving and smoking, she staring at the darkened road, making small-talk.
She says, out of the blue, and without moving or changing her tone, "I would do anything for you."
He says, without taking his eyes from the road, "Me too, Marianne."
She says, very quietly, "I am putting my hand on your knee."
And he says, "Me too, Marianne."
She says, with only the faintest smile, "I am kissing you all over."
He says, without changing expression, "Me too, Marianne."
And then, turning his head just a fraction of an inch, he gives her a half smile from the corner of his mouth.
End of scene.
I love this guy's face.