Hollywood classics such as You Only Live Once (1937) and They Live by Night (1948) had long established the archetype of doomed, criminal lovers taking to the road to escape their fate. Continuing his headlong reinvention of cinema (this was his tenth film in six years), Jean-Luc Godard used the model to tell the story of what he called the “last romantic couple”: a Parisian (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and his babysitter (Godard’s then-wife Anna Karina) who take off for the south of France with a cache of gunrunning money.
In true Godardian style, the flimsy plot played coathanger for satirical digressions (on commercialism and the Vietnam war), kaleidoscopic stylistic devices, sunny musical numbers and a merciless examination of male-female incompatibility, shot in intoxicating primary colours by Raoul Coutard.
“Possibly an end and a beginning for Godard. A frolicking escapist romantic road-trip adventure, but also a blistering critique of bourgeois culture, a political satire and a collage of anti-consumerist capitalism. Anna Karina’s star shines for herself.” Helen DeWitt
“The gangster noir template is chopped and broken, then reassembled as a bricolage of signifiers, to forge a mesmerising generic satire that also seems to reinvent colour.” Dario Llinares