KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2)
August 2, 2017
One of 25 installments in a series of enthusiastic posts analyzing and celebrating a few of our favorite neo-noir movies from the Sixties (1964–1973).
BANDE À PART (BAND OF OUTSIDERS) | d. JEAN-LUC GODARD | 1964
Near the beginning of Band of Outsiders, two aspiring robbers play-act Billy the Kid, the American outlaw who served as both myth and reality for Michael Ondaatje in The Collected Works of Billy the Kid — in which we read that “…every animal that came within a certain radius of that house was given a welcome — the tame, the half born, the wild, the wounded.”
These descriptors could apply equally to Godard’s band of outsiders: Franz (Sami Frey), Arthur (Claude Brasseur), and Odile (Anna Karina). At times playful, at times mournful, always poetic, the movie shows us where crime and art, love and life are inextricably woven together: where our imaginations allow us to justify our moral transgressions. Via Band of Outsiders, life, art, and crime seep into our pores; it’s a dreamlike experience. In fact, during the brilliant and delightful café dance sequence, Godard notes that Franz “doesn’t know whether the world is becoming a dream or the dream, a world.”
The film’s use of silence, the mad dash through the Louvre, the score and tone captivate me. But it is the interplay between the performative aspects of crime and the criminal aspects of performance that makes Band of Outsiders a touchstone film for me. Where does one end and the other begin? “Arthur, when he goes off to rob the house, looks quite disguised, artificial and theatrical. With his black mask he looks like he is playing a gangster,” Godard once said in an interview. “That’s why, immediately afterward, the theft scene is treated with a great deal of violence and brutality. It had to be realistic; you had to see the scene as somewhat true to real life.”
The film is also about the complex relationships that can develop within a group of misfits: the yearnings of the heart, the desire to feel alive that lead us sometimes from the pleasures of the imagination to the despair of reality. An exchange between two of our lead characters: “Isn’t it strange how people never form a whole?” “In what way?” “They never come together. They remain separate. Each goes their own way, distrustful and tragic.” By the end of the film Odile, our once wide-eyed and trusting heroine, laments, “I’m worn out from sorrow and fatigue.”
Godard adds: “After all catastrophes, the world keeps on following its course….”
MORE ALIX LAMBERT at HILOBROW: SÉRIE NOIRE series | GROK MY ENTHUSIASM: The Skies Belong To Us | HERMENAUTIC TAROT: The Eye Floater | MORE: including HILO HERO items on Patty Wagstaff, Nelson George, William Kentridge, Angela Davis, and Vito Acconci.
KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM: Series Introduction | Kio Stark on THE KILLERS | Alix Lambert on BANDE À PART (BAND OF OUTSIDERS) | Judith Zissman on ALPHAVILLE | Mark Kingwell on HARPER | Lynn Peril on BLOW-UP | Devin McKinney on SECONDS | Drew Daniel on BRANDED TO KILL | Luc Sante on POINT BLANK | Gordon Dahlquist on LE SAMOURAÏ | Alice Boone on LE CERCLE ROUGE | Brian Berger on COTTON COMES TO HARLEM | Adrienne Crewe on PERFORMANCE | David Levine on THE FRENCH CONNECTION | Dan Fox on GET CARTER | Melissa Gira Grant on KLUTE | Brandi Brown on SHAFT | Kaleb Horton on FAT CITY | Peter Doyle on THE GETAWAY | Sarah Weinman on HICKEY & BOGGS | Annie Nocenti on BADLANDS | Josh Glenn on CHARLEY VARRICK | Gary Groth on THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE | Lisa Jane Persky on THE LONG GOODBYE | Mimi Lipson on MEAN STREETS | Sherri Wasserman on SOYLENT GREEN.
MORE MOVIES at HILOBROW: KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM: 25 neo-noirs of the Sixties (1964–1973) | James Parker’s BOURNE VARIATIONS series | Alix Lambert’s SÉRIE NOIRE series | Jacob Mikanowski’s SCREEN TIME series | Josh Glenn’s SHOCKING BLOCKING series | Joanne McNeil’s ALL MY STARS series | MORE: including dozens of HILO HERO items on movie directors and actors.
KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2017): THE KILLERS | BANDE À PART (BAND OF OUTSIDERS) | ALPHAVILLE | HARPER | BLOW-UP | & 20 other neo-noir movies. #SQUADGOALS (2017 weekly): THE WILD BUNCH | BOWIE’S BAND | THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP | THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS | VI ÄR BÄST! & dozens of other squads | GROK MY ENTHUSIASM (2016 weekly): THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF LUNCH | WEEKEND | MILLION YEAR PICNIC | LA BARONNE EMILE D’ERLANGER | THE SURVIVAL SAMPLER | & dozens more one-off enthusiasms. QUIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2016): “Tainted Love” | “Metal” | “Frankie Teardrop” | “Savoir Faire” | “Broken English” | & 20 other new wave songs. CROM YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2015): DARKER THAN YOU THINK | THE SWORD IN THE STONE | OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET | THIEVES’ HOUSE | QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST | & 20 other fantasy novels from 1934–43. KERN YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2014): ALDINE ITALIC | DATA 70 | TORONTO SUBWAY | JOHNSTON’S “HAMLET” | TODD KLONE | & 20 other typefaces. HERC YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2013): “Spoonin’ Rap” | “Rapper’s Delight” | “Rappin’ Blow” | “The Incredible Fulk” | “The Adventures of Super Rhyme” | & 20 other old-school hip-hop songs. KIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2012): Justice or vengeance? | Kirk teaches his drill thrall to kiss | “KHAAAAAN!” | “No kill I” | Kirk browbeats NOMAD | & 20 other Captain Kirk scenes. KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2011): THE ETERNALS | BLACK MAGIC | DEMON | OMAC | CAPTAIN AMERICA | & 20 other Jack Kirby panels.