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Need Godard Recommendations

Old 07-01-03, 11:20 AM
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Need Godard Recommendations

I'm interested in picking up a couple of Godard films. Anybody have any info on these in regards to transfer quality, availability, better quality releases on the horizon, etc.? Any I should avoid?

The ones I'm interested in:
Jean-Luc Godard 3-Pack (Breathless / Les Petit Soldat / Les Carabiners)
Pierrot Le Fou (seems to be out of stock at quite a few places)
Band Of Outsiders
My Life To Live

Less interested in the others currently available:
A Woman Is A Woman
any of the post-60s films

P.S. I'm not region free...
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Old 07-01-03, 11:50 AM
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None of the Fox/Lorber releases are of stellar quality, although some are better than others. Pierrot le fou and Vivre sa vie are two of the best, and Une femme est une femme is just about the most godawful transfer I've ever seen. The others are at least watchable. All the Criterion releases are top notch.

Of the films you've listed, the ones I would recommend with respect to the quality of the actual film:

Breathless (not my favorite, but you should start with it)
Band Of Outsiders
Pierrot le fou
My Life To Live

The latter two are my favorites by Godard, and are, IMO, two of the finest films ever made.

ETA: Criterion have a release of Two Or Three Things I Know About Her in the works. Nothing immediate, sadly.

Last edited by wendersfan; 07-01-03 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 07-01-03, 01:04 PM
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Thanks for the recommendations. Actually, I've seen three Godard films, one of which was Breathless, so I guess I'm on the right track! Didn't think much of the other two (Hail Mary and Sympathy For The Devil), so I'm going to stick with his earlier films.

I'm leaning towards Band of Outsiders and the 3 Pack. Le Petit Soldat and Les Carabiniers sound (at the least) interesting, and I probably wouldn't pick them up individually.

Was Pierrot Le Fou re-released with an improved transfer? There seemed to be a lot of reviews around the time it came out damning the transfer, but recent reviews are much more positive.
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Old 07-01-03, 01:25 PM
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I hated Alphaville, but it is probably because I'm not smart enough or something. Band of Outsiders was really fun. Those are the only two Godard films I've seen to date. Been meaning to rent Breathless.
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Old 07-01-03, 01:41 PM
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Has there been any word if "In Praise of Love" will be released shortly on video? (I know it's still making the art-house rounds).
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Old 07-01-03, 01:47 PM
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It's being released 7/22.
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Old 07-01-03, 01:54 PM
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In Praise of Love comesout 7/22 apparentlyfrom New Yorker. Hard to say, based on their track record, whether it will look OK or not. I'd start with Breathless, My Life to Live, Band of Outsiders and Contempt. The latter 3 all have decent (My Life) to amazing transfers and the Criterions have excellent extras. Un Petit Soldat and Les Caribieners I haven't yet seen but i tend to be a little wary of some of Godard's more overtly political films. I'm guessing they may not be best enjoyed by someone without some experience watching Godard. I think the Pierrot Le Fou transfer is total crap. I do not recommend this film until you've seen and read about other, earlier Godard. It's a great film, but not for the uniniated. Have fun. I just went through a huge JLG jag a while back.
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Old 07-01-03, 02:01 PM
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Contempt is certainly an important piece in Godard's career...and the disc itself, amongst Godard discs, reigns supreme.

Its worth it just to see Fritz Lang and Godard talking together on disc 2. Priceless.

With Criterion snuggled warmly in its relations with Wellspring, I'd be prepred to double-dip if I got Breathless. It is the marble foundation of his work, and I've no doubt that Criterion would swipe it up without hesitation if the offer is given.
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Old 07-01-03, 03:39 PM
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Pierrot Le Fou & First Name Carmen have been OOP for some time now. Woman Is A Woman was just recently announced as OOP.
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Old 07-01-03, 04:36 PM
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I've got ALL of Godard's released DVDS, including the very hard to find, very obscure, very obtuse "Keep You're Right Up" Godard's my favorite director mainly because of what he does and how he does it. I like how he has different types of movies that at first you're like "this is nothing like that other Godard film" but at the same time they all have the "Godard Trademark" LOTS of quoting .

Umm, get Band of Outsiders and I enjoyed both Le Petit Soldat and Las Carabineirs (i butchered the spellin on that one ). They're a little abstract at times.

What somenoe REALLY needs to release on DVD is Weekend! That movie is NUTS.

Its very unfortunete that only a dozen or so of his VAST number of films have been released. It's too bad tarantino "out grew" him, because we might've seen him make some DVDs happen.

I got this book thats really recent with interviews with Godard and he goes into how he's interested by the DVD format, but he's also cautious about it.

What I wouldnt give to get Histories of Cinema on DVD with Godard certified translations!
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Old 07-02-03, 08:11 AM
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Now I'm wondering if I should try to find a copy of Pierrot Le Fou. At $10 it's a throwaway purchase, and it's one of the titles I'm most interested in. But I assume someone's going to reissue it, along with A Woman Is A Woman... Criterion maybe?

You all have convinced me to give Contempt a whirl, though I'll probably start with Band Of Outsiders.
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Old 07-05-03, 12:42 AM
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My Life To Live

Has there only been one release of [b]My Life To Live[b]???
Or has there been a newer release recently?

Just curious because DVD Savant recently reviewed this disc and something made me think there may have been a re-release of the disc, but I don't see separate listings for it at any etailers.
So, is there just one release??

One of the first DVD companies out the gate in 1997-98, Fox Lorber muddied up the Foreign Film shelves with a series of poorly framed and indifferently transferred titles, now mostly discontinued. My Life to Live has nothing in common with those. Except for a lack of extras, it's a terrific disc. It's also at an excellent price.
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Old 07-05-03, 06:51 PM
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My Life to Live

No--Fox Lorber has only released it once. It had a price drop recently (if they had re-released it, it would be under the Wellspring label--Fox Lorber's name has changed twice since they released My Life to Live). I'm not sure why DVD Savant just got around to reviewing it.
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Old 07-06-03, 03:27 AM
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Although not available on DVD, I suggest watching Weekend. Definitely my favorite Godard film.
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Old 08-04-03, 08:53 AM
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Pierrot Le Fou is OOP, but Amazon has it in stock. I ordered it and it shipped. I'll post some notes on picture quality when I get it...
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Old 08-04-03, 12:20 PM
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Apart from Le Mépris (Contempt) you have to buy from France or the UK if you want the best versions of Godard's films.

Weekend is due out soon in the UK.
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Old 08-04-03, 12:54 PM
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"My Life to Live": ****/****
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Old 08-04-03, 01:02 PM
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i have the R1-"Pierrot le fou" (condition: MINT) if anyone is interested for a trade.... send an email to me.
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Old 08-04-03, 03:04 PM
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Weekend and Masculin, Feminin on DVD would be great.
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Old 08-04-03, 03:28 PM
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Originally posted by Walter Sobchak
Apart from Le Mépris (Contempt) you have to buy from France or the UK if you want the best versions of Godard's films.
I beg to differ: Criterion's release of Band of Outsiders is superb. They will be releasing Masculine Feminine and Two or Three Things I Know About Her eventually, too.
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Old 08-04-03, 05:01 PM
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Pierrot le fou has a great release in France (the newer release has English subtitles). The Region 1 disc is awful.

I think you'll find very many of the remastered 'Criterion transfers' do in fact come from France and/or are paid for by the European Union (EU) or French/Italian government.

Still, if it's quantity of his films that matter then Region 1 comes top of the list at present as many of his French releases are OOP.

Weekend will be distributed by www.artificial-eye.com

Not seen it myself but Godard fans might want to catch http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000A5B55

Lots of reviews at www.frenchfilmsondvd.com
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Old 08-08-03, 02:52 PM
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My reactions to Pierrot Le Fou...

The Film: Wow, incredible. At first it seemed to fall into a predictable 60s schematic - angry cool guy vs. materialistic squares. But once Marianne & "Pierrot" escape the city, it gets off the beaten track and hits a nice rhythm. At the end you can't tell if it's a serious film about silly things or a silly film about serious things, but either way, it'll get under your skin. A very anti-American film, not so much in that it hates the US (although there's some lame mockery of the US military), but in that it's the absolute antithesis of a Hollywood movie. Impulses towards character development, realism and aesthetic continuity are constantly thwarted, yet in spite of all that, it's still a weird tribute to American genre; gangster movies, road movies, and if Belmondo wasn't the French Bogart, I don't know who was. Some great quotes, too:

"Poetry is a game of loser-take-all."

"A glorious death for a little man"

Ferdinand: "I'm surprised the cops aren't after us."
Marianne: "They're smart. They let people destroy themselves."

The DVD: Pretty dire. Washed out colors, soft image, some print damage. The (burned-in) subtitles are good, aside from a few misspellings. I'm glad it's OOP, maybe someone (Criterion?) can save this one...
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Old 08-08-03, 03:04 PM
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I myself loved and recommend 'Alphaville'. A secret agent has to destroy an ultimate evil (or existential) computer who is controlling a city - how can you get any better? Very very deep and the Computer's voice - Scary!

Weird killing scenes involving knifes in swimming pools, killer computers, lots of very cool black and white filing...

Get it!
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Old 08-22-03, 11:44 AM
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A new 35mm print of A Woman Is A Woman is making the rounds.


Looking at Rialto's theatrical release history, it's likely that A Woman Is A Woman will be a Criterion release in the next 12 months...

2002 Releases
February UMBERTO D.

2001 Releases

2000 Releases

1999 Releases

1998 Releases

1997 Releases
February THE GRADUATE (co-distributed with Strand Releasing)
July CONTEMPT (co-distributed with Strand Releasing)
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Old 08-22-03, 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by cloudnin
Weekend and Masculin, Feminin on DVD would be great.
Masculin-Feminin is definately one of my most wanted DVDs. I LOVE that movie. And I still haven't seen Weekend, but most people seem to pick that as their favorite so I'm definately looking forward to it.

Call me crazy, but of the Godard films on region 1 DVD, my favorite is Alphaville. I guess a lot of that is because I love sci-fi so much. I think it's one of the absolute best sci-fi films. Love the
swimming pool execution scene and the women in display cases (if I ever make a movie I'm stealing the latter).
Those are two of the most memorable things I've ever seen in a movie. And the horror references are great. And Anna Karina is STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL in that movie.

And I hate Breathless. I've seen it 3 or 4 times and I can't get into it at all. Thoroughly unlikeable characters and the plot/situation doesn't interest me at all. And I never got all the praise for My Life to Live either.

I also enjoyed Contempt and Band of Outsiders. If I rated the Godard I've seen, it would probably be:

1. Masculin/Feminin
2. Alphaville (might have to switch one and two, they are really close).
3. Band of Outsiders
4. Contempt

And a big ass drop off after that. For me Godard can be right on point sometimes and wildly miss after that. Gotta respect his effort though. And I still haven't seen In Praise of Love. Looking forward to it.
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