TCMFF: Anna Karina and ‘Band of Outsiders’

One of the events I was incredibly excited for at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival was an interview with Anna Karina before a world premiere of a new restoration of Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders (Bande a part in French). I wrote about the film specifically while at back in 2012 and it’s still one of my favorite films from the director.

It can’t be said enough that Godard is an incredibly decisive filmmaker. His films can come off as incredibly pretentious, even in his famed 1960-1967 period. Band of Outsiders is less so, but only by a small measure. Yes, at its face, the film exists merely to prove Godard’s theory that all you need for a movie is a guy, a girl and a gun (in this case, two guys). But there’s still politics in there, as Godard is increasingly wary of American influence on French and European society. Therein lies a contradiction, because at the same time, the director is making a film that owes so much to American movies.

photo by Daniel S. Levine

My real favorite Godard film is A Woman is a Woman, which also deconstructed a famous American genre. That film is a bit more structured plot-wise. While watching Band in a theater, I realized just how loose the movie is, how often stagnant the plot becomes and how much time goes by before they finally try to rob Odile’s aunt’s house. Maybe this is a movie that actually belongs on a small screen at home. (Another issue was that I have a copy of this at home, so I allowed myself to nod off a bit so I’d be awake for GOG.)

The interview with Karina was the only event I attended with Ben Mankiewicz as interviewer. I recorded as much as I could, but the information she gave wasn’t anything you haven’t heard in her interviews on Criterion DVDs. Still, just being in her presence was enough for me. She is honestly the main reason why I will watch Vivre sa vie or Pierrot le fou (which I would have LOVED to see on a big screen) again and again.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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