Bande à part (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bande à part
Band a Part French poster.jpg
Bande à part poster
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Written by Jean-Luc Godard
Based on Fool's Gold
by Dolores Hitchens
Starring Anna Karina
Sami Frey
Claude Brasseur
Music by Michel Legrand
Cinematography Raoul Coutard
Anouchka Films
Orsay Films
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • 5 August 1964 (1964-08-05)
Running time
97 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget $120,000 (estimated)

Bande à part (French pronunciation: ​[bɑ̃d a paʁ]) is a 1964 French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It was released as Band of Outsiders in North America; its French title derives from the phrase faire bande à part, which means "to do something apart from the group."

The film is an adaptation of the novel Fools' Gold (Doubleday Crime Club, 1958) by American author Dolores Hitchens (1907–1973).

Godard described it as "Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka".[1]


Odile (Anna Karina) meets a man named Franz (Sami Frey) in an English language class. She has told him of a large pile of money stashed in the villa where she lives with her aunt, Madame Victoria and a man named Monsieur Stoltz in Joinville, a Parisian suburb. Franz tells his friend Arthur (Claude Brasseur) of the money – and his nascent romance with Odile – and the two hatch a plan to steal it.

Meanwhile, Franz and Arthur try to seduce Odile. Ultimately, Arthur wins Odile, and they spend the night together.

Arthur's uncle learns of their plot and wants a cut of the money. Franz, Arthur, and Odile now must commit the robbery the night before they had planned, the night they knew M. Stoltz would be away from home. Moreover, M. Stoltz grows suspicious, and he hides the money and changes the locks.

When they arrive, Franz and Arthur tie up Mme. Victoria and lock her in an armoire. They only find a small amount of cash in the house, and when they open the armoire, to interrogate Mme. Victoria about the rest of the money, she appears to be dead. Franz, Arthur, and Odile flee the scene at once, until suddenly, Arthur declares he will return to the home, to verify that Mme. Victoria is in fact dead.

This is a ploy: Arthur knows where the rest of the money is hidden, and he plans to take it for himself. But on the highway, Franz notices Arthur's uncle heading in the direction of the villa; he and Odile turn around to follow. There, they witness Arthur being shot by his uncle repeatedly after finding the rest of the money in the doghouse. As he breathes his last, Arthur shoots his uncle in return. Odile rushes toward the body, but Franz pulls her away as M. Stoltz pulls up to the house. M. Stoltz gathers up the pile of money that is on the ground and walks up the stairs of the house. This is also where we learn that Mme. Victoria is alive, as she appears in the doorway and meets M. Stoltz as he enters the house.

Odile and Franz drive off with a small stack of money from the robbery. Odile, crestfallen, declares, "I'm disgusted with life." The two decide to flee to South America, and the narrator declares his story has ended here, "like in a pulp novel," and promises a technicolor sequel chronicling Odile and Franz's tropical adventures.


Famous scenes[edit]

(l. to r.) Arthur (Claude Brasseur), Odile (Anna Karina) and Franz (Sami Frey) turn to different positions as they dance what they called "the Madison dance."
  • "A minute of silence": Arthur, Franz and Odile are in a crowded café and decide to observe a minute of silence; as they do so, the film's soundtrack is plunged into complete silence. This silence actually lasts only 36 seconds and is interrupted by Franz who says "Enough of that."
  • The Madison scene: Shortly after, Odile and Arthur decide to dance. Franz joins them as they perform a dance routine. The music is R&B or soul music composed for the film by Michel Legrand but Anna Karina said the actors called it "the Madison dance," alluding to a novelty dance of the time.[2]
  • The Louvre scene: The characters attempt to break the world record for running through the Louvre museum. And the narration informs that their time was 9 minutes and 43 seconds which broke the record set by Jimmy Johnson of San Francisco at 9 minuters and 45 second. This scene is referenced in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers (2003) in which its characters break the Louvre record.

In popular culture[edit]


Bande à part is often considered one of Godard's most accessible films; Amy Taubin of the Village Voice called it "a Godard film for people who don't much care for Godard".[8] Its accessibility has endeared the film to a broader audience. For example, it was the only Godard film selected for Time's All-TIME 100 movies.[9]

Film critic Pauline Kael described Bande à part as "a reverie of a gangster movie" and "perhaps Godard's most delicately charming film".[10]

The entire coffeehouse dance scene was also used as the music video for the song "Dance with Me", by the music group Nouvelle Vague from their 2006 album Bande à Part. The group took their name from a scene in the movie, where Odile and Arthur are walking on a street and pass a business with Nouvelle Vague (New Wave or New Trend) in large letters over the door.

Bande à part was ranked No. 79 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema" in 2010.[11]


External links[edit]