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France 1965

 

"I wanted to tell the story of the last romantic couple," Jean-Luc Godard said of this brilliant, all-over-the-place adventure and meditation about two lovers on the run (Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina). Made in 1965, this film, with its ravishing colors and beautiful 'Scope camerawork by Raoul Coutard, still looks as iconoclastic and fresh as it did when it belatedly opened in the U.S. Godard's misogynistic view of women as the ultimate betrayers is integral to the romanticism in much of his 60s work--and perhaps never more so than here--but Karina's charisma makes this pretty easy to ignore most of the time. The movie's frequent shifts in style, emotion, and narrative are both challenging and intoxicating: American director Samuel Fuller turns up at a party scene to offer his definition of cinema, Karina performs two memorable songs in musical-comedy fashion, Belmondo's character quotes copiously from his reading, and a fair number of red and blue cars are stolen and destroyed.

 Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's capsule at The Chicago Reader located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: Italy 29 August 1965 (Venice Film Festival); France 5 November 1965

Reviews        More Reviews        DVD Reviews

Comparison: 

Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Studio Canal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Thanks to David Hare for the Studio Canal DVD screen captures!

DVD Box Cover

 

UK Optimum Blu-ray Edition

German Kinowelt Blu-ray Edition:

Studio Canal Blu-ray in France:

Distribution Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 421 - Region 1 - NTSC

Studio Canal

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 421 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Optimum / Kinowelt
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:49:52 1:50:08 1:45 (4% PAL speedup) 1:50:19.446 1:50:44.250
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.81 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.63 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 9.5 m mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  48,258,556,990 bytes

Feature: 28,021,315,584 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P / 24 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  35,839,900,233 bytes

Feature: 32,116,789,248 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Fox Lorber

Bitrate

Criterion

Bitrate:

 Studio Canal

Bitrate:

 Criterion Blu-ray

Bitrate:

 Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray

Audio French DD Mono French DD Mono French DD Mono LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio English 896 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 896 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit / DN -3dB)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 880 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 880 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1015 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1015 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit / DN -4dB)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 918 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 918 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit / DN -5dB)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 928 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 928 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit / DN -6dB)
Subtitles English - burnt-in English, none English, Spanish, none English, none English (SDH), English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Fox / Lorber

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Filmograpghy Text screens
• Production Notes Text screens 

DVD Release Date: November 24th, 1998

Keep Case
Chapters: 8

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• New video interview with actor Anna Karina
• A "Pierrot" Primer, a new video program with audio commentary by filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin (36:00)
• Godard, l'amour, la poésie, a fifty-minute French documentary about director Jean-Luc Godard and his work and marriage with Karina
• Archival interview excerpts with Godard, Karina, and actor Jean-Paul Belmondo
• Theatrical trailer
• 46-page liner Notes booklet featuring a new essay by critic Richard Brody, a 1969 review by Andrew Sarris, and a 1965 interview with Godard 

DVD Release Date: February 19th, 200
8
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 23

Release Information:
Studio: Studio Canal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35

Edition Details:
• Studio Canal Serie Noire

DVD Release Date: 19 February 2007 (resissue)
keep case in cardboard package

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  48,258,556,990 bytes

Feature: 28,021,315,584 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• New video interview with actor Anna Karina HD (5:50)
• A "Pierrot" Primer, a new video program with audio commentary by filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin
• Godard, l'amour, la poésie, a fifty-minute French documentary about director Jean-Luc Godard and his work and marriage with Karina
• Archival interview excerpts with Godard, Karina, and actor Jean-Paul Belmondo
• Theatrical trailer
• 46-page liner Notes booklet featuring a new essay by critic Richard Brody, a 1969 review by Andrew Sarris, and a 1965 interview with Godard 

Blu-ray Release Date: September 22nd, 2009
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 23

Release Information:
Studio: Studio Canal Collection

1080P / 24 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  35,839,900,233 bytes

Feature: 32,116,789,248 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Introduction by Colin McCabe (3;13)
• Godard, l'amour, la poésie, a French documentary about director Jean-Luc Godard and his work and marriage with Karina (52:59)
• Film analysis by Jean-Bernard Pouy (1:50:01)
• Theatrical trailer (1:59)
• German TV Advert (3:08)

• 5 HD Posters

• BD-LIVE 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 16th, 2010
Custom
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 13

  

The (only under French language option) Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray starts with this text:

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray - February 2010:

 

There are a few issues to consider here and I'll address them in point form:

 

1) The Criterion Blu-ray is now OOP (out-of-print)

2) The Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray is region FREE

3) The Criterion has the green-tinted scene (at about 6 3/4 minutes - with Samuel Fuller) where the Studio Canal does not include it with tint, but it does have other tinted scenes from that sequence (see sample at very bottom). In Jean-Bernard Pouy's 'commentary', on the SC disc, he describes them as "Primary Colors, relatively".

4) Technically the Studio Canal takes up more disc space for the feature and has a marginally higher bitrate.

5) Some feel the Criterion looks more film-like, however, grain is visible on both.

6) Colors remain the most noticeable difference. The brighter Criterion is generally more vibrant but flesh tones are warmer.

 

I can't state with any degree of certainty that one color scheme is more accurate but input I have been given by people who saw it as far back as 1967 concur that the Criterion gives a more faithful representation and the green-tinted scene was, indeed, part of the theatrical presentation. Personally, I like both transfers quite a lot and it may come down to an individual preference on which you might prefer - or feels better represents the original appearance. As the Criterion was advertised as "...approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard..." that seems a strong endorsement to that edition.

 

Audio leans to the Criterion as well - but both offer the original French track in a lossless rendering. DTS-Master 2.0 channel for the SC and linear PCM 1.0 for the Criterion. If I didn't own both editions to make comparisons - I'd be extremely pleased with both which are very clean and free of damage. The Criterion offers optional English subtitles while the European edition has a choice of a German or Spanish lossless DUB and multiple subtitles (including, of course, English). The SC disc starts with a list of countries to choose from including UK and USA. Choosing the USA option has the LionsGate logo - which, presumably means the exact same disc will also be arriving for sale in North America.

 

Extras I will give to the Studio Canal. Both it, and the Criterion, offer the 52-minute Godard, l'amour, la poésie (Godard, Love and Poetry) French documentary about director Jean-Luc Godard and his work and marriage with Karina. Although it is not stated as such, Jean-Bernard Pouy gives a 'commentary' for the entire film on the SC disc in French with English (or other) subtitles. Many will find this enlightening although there are some gaps - he does laugh a few times - enjoying the film. The Criterion also adds a new video interview with actor Anna Karina in HD for 6:00 and the French produced disc has an introduction by Colin McCabe (3:13) and a German TV Advert (3:08). Both offer the Theatrical trailer. While the Criterion has extensive liner notes - I am not aware at this time what external booklet the Studio Canal includes.

 

As opposed to getting bogged down with the minutia of the two release differences, I feel that they both have a lot to offer fans of Godard and the film. Those uninterested in the commentary and who already own the Criterion - should be content with their previous purchase. For those unable to get their hands on the North American Blu-ray, or who reside in region 'B' without a 'free' player, should nab the Studio Canal in the country that suits their language (for the package and liner notes - the discs will all be exactly the same). 

Gary Tooze

*****

ADDITION Criterion Blu-ray - September 2009: utilizing the same HD transfer rendered to the Criterion DVD - the Blu-ray of Pierrot le Fou looks absolutely marvelous. Colors again support the tinted scenes and everything is bright and flawless. Detail takes a significant leap forward. With some light consistent grain this appearance is nothing short of a revelation in 1080P from the original 35mm negative. the Criterion transfer, approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard, of Pierrot le Fou looks absolutely pristine! Noise is non-existent on my system. Wow.

it's an uncompressed linear PCM 1.0 monaural track at 1152 kbps which is a slightly noticeable improvement in a few scenes. It, too, is flawless with no apparent weaknesses (no hiss, pops, or gaps). Criterion have included optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has determined this is region 'A'-locked.

Supplements duplicate the 2008 DVD but video features are all in HD. We get the video interview with actress Anna Karina conducted at the Brasserie Lipp in Paris. Karina recalls working with former husband Godard and role as Marianne Renoir in Pierrot le Fou. It runs just under 15 minutes long. A "Pierrot" Primer is a new video program with audio commentary by filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin (Tout va bien - 1972) - it runs 35:58. Godard, l'amour, la poésie, is a fifty-minute French documentary about director Jean-Luc Godard and his work and marriage with Karina. It includes interviews with Godard collaborators (originally from Studio Canal). There are also archival interview excerpts (from 1965) with Godard, Karina, and actor Jean-Paul Belmondo in a featurette called Belmondo in the Wind which runs about 10 minutes. There is some Venice Film Festival footage including excerpt interviews by Maurice Seveno with Godard and Karina. It is only 4 minutes long. Finally a 46-page booklet featuring a new essay by critic Richard Brody, a 1969 review by Andrew Sarris, and a 1965 interview with Godard. Of course, all extras are now accessible on one, lone, Blu-ray disc.

They said it wouldn't surface on Blu-ray but it has and Criterion have done their usual superlative best. If you require enticement to double-dip - the Blu-ray is currently $11 cheaper than the 2-disc DVD of last year. An justifiable no-brainer for the Godard and world cinema fan. STRONGLY recommended!  

Gary Tooze

*****

ADDITION - Criterion and Fox/Lorber  DVDs - February 08': Firstly we can quickly dismiss the Fox/Lorber as a rather expensive coaster with its very weak and hazy 4:3 letterboxed transfer.

The new Criterion is advertised as 'New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard'. The source is Studio Canal (as that logo starts the Criterion DVD feature) and it shows much parity with only a few variances (see the party sequence - 2nd large capture as one extreme example). Generally the Criterion appears a shade tighter with, potentially, boosted black levels. For the most part - colors and framing are the same. Criterion colors are slightly brighter and I have no explanation for the greenish tinge of that particular party scene (with director Samuel Fuller chomping a cigar on the right) but numerous emails confirm it is accurate in accordance with the theatrical appearance. The Criterion is expectantly dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic - coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard.

All three editions have original French mono audio. The Criterion only offers optional English subs where the Studio Canal has Spanish as a choice as well and the Fox/Lorber's are burnt-in English.

There may be some debate about that greenish party scene, which does appear to be accurate, and the Criterion looks great and has a wealth of viable extra material to suffice any Godard fan who will find this DVD package worth every penny. A strong recommendation.     

Gary Tooze

*****

ON THE STUDIO CANAL: Pierrot has been released under several covers by Studio Canal including two Godard Coffrets, but this single disc edition is supported by optional English subs. The transfer is absolutely exemplary. With a generous 9.5 mgs bitrate and occupying 6.418 gf of a dual layer disc the image quality is flawless. No source damage or telecine problems. Clear sharp detailed image with extremely punchy color and perfect Scope framing. I can't imagine the movie looking any better short of an HD release. At least until the future Criterion, and then ONLY if their extras are compelling, this is a perfect presentation of the movie, for those who are not concerned with significant extras.

The extras include an audio commentary (no subs obviously) by Jean-Bernard Pouy, and an introduction by Patrick Raynal, Director of the Serie Noire DVD Collection. There are also optional Spanish subs.

 - David Hare

 



DVD Menus

 

Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC

 


Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT

 

 

 

Criterion - disc 2

 

 

Studio Canal Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Subtitle sample NOTE: The Fox/Lorber, although burnt-in subtitles, has none for this particular text. Go figure.

 

 


Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

Studio Canal Collection - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

NOTE: here is a cap from the Nordic / Australian DVD R2/4 edition (thanks Pepsi!)

 

 


Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

Studio Canal Collection - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

Studio Canal Collection - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

Studio Canal Collection - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

Studio Canal Collection - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

Studio Canal Collection - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

Studio Canal Collection - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

Studio Canal Collection - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Criterion  Blu-ray Captures

 

More Studio Canal  Blu-ray Captures

 

DVD Box Cover

 

UK Optimum Blu-ray Edition

German Kinowelt Blu-ray Edition:

Studio Canal Blu-ray in France:

Distribution Fox/Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 421 - Region 1 - NTSC

Studio Canal

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 421 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Optimum / Kinowelt
Region FREE -
Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Thank You!