Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Purest Form of Cinematic Ecstasy

There is a sequence in Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot Le Fou that is one of, if not THE, purest distillation of happiness and love and absolute delight I've seen in a film. It lasts a little over three minutes, consists of only three shots (each lasting about a minute each), and is absolute cinematic heaven. When I'm down, it cheers me up. When I'm up, it lifts me higher and expresses every bit of the joy I feel. It's in the film to illustrate how Ferdinand feels about Marianne, and I'm so glad it took as long as it did for me to see this film so I ended up reaching a point in my life where I know exactly how he feels at that moment.

The YouTube quality, of course, barely does justice to the eye-popping colors (even in the woods, the use of color is absolutely radiant if you watch this sequence in a proper setting) and the grace of the camera movement (and the camera doesn't really track a whole lot in this film, but when it does, it's bliss). This scene is what made me fall for this film. It's why it's one of my favorite films of all times (Facebook readers, my profile list needs updating), and though I'd seen Breathless, Band of Outsiders, and Masculin-Feminin before this, it's why Godard is one of my favorite directors. Whatever minor issues I have for his other films, it takes someone with true vision and ambition to create something this spiritually joyful, never mind to place it in a film with this sort of set up, never mind to have it all tie together and serve the story.

Even if you don't see what I see (and outside the context of the film, it's totally possible), try and see if you can't see something. Then fire back with your own scene (or even just a moment) from a movie that elicits this reaction in you.

1 comment:

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