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It wanders like a roving eye, for example, when Arthur instructs Odile to remove her tights, the lens follows her hands as she fiddles with her suspenders and unwittingly flashes her pale, white thighs to Arthur and us, the audience.The film is also enhanced by Michel Legrand’s musical score.But there is also a hope that with the money from the caper they can escape to America where life will surely be better.These darker undertones of restlessness are beautifully reflected in Raoul Coutard’s cinematography.This is due in part to Godard’s rebellious determination to undo the traditional conventions of Hollywood films and play with the possibilities of film but also to employ the alienation devices of Bertolt Brecht, the German playwright.
Franz and Arthur’s playful re-enactment of the shooting of Billy the Kid on the streets.The glances in the English class where the camera follows Franz’s longing for Odile and Odile’s stand off towards him, Franz’s warning look to Arthur and Odile’s infatuated look to Arthur and Arthur’s returned indifferent look to both of them, is like a delicate ballet of camera work intertwined with the character’s emotions.But probably my favourite sequence is on the Metro where such tenderness is played out between Arthur and Odile.The famous scene when on a whim Odile, Franz and Arthur run through the Louvre to break an American record is a delight to watch.There’s the minute of silence which Odile insists upon in a crowded cafe and on the count of three Godard cuts out the music and background noise forcing the audience to participate, although they get bored very easily and only manage 40 seconds.Odile’s aunt sends her to English class to improve her prospects.They all appear to be aimless, with crime a casual distraction to relieve them of the dreary surroundings and dull routine.There’s always a wonderful dynamism in Godard’s films and a witty humour (which is often overlooked by many who fixate on the intellectual genius able to quote Baudelaire and Zola in the same breath.)The opening title sequence flickers between close-up shots of the three characters whilst a jaunty ragtime piano plays which lends an immediate comical effect that never fails to illicit a smile.The camera occasionally freezing upon either Karina’s, Frey’s or Brasseur’s face as a letter from the film’s title punctuates the screen in time with the music temporarily halting before rattling on again.Coutard’s prominence in Godard’s work cannot be underestimated – he has been director of photography for 17 of Godard’s films. He was first and foremost a war photographer, a photojournalist and on learning of his background, Godard de-moted his appointed cinematographer.It was a collaborative effort in which Godard asked Coutard to shoot his films like a reportage, using hand held cameras and natural lighting.