Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Band of Outsiders (1964)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Band of Outsiders (1964, Fr.) (aka Bande à Part)

In Jean-Luc Godard's quirky, low-budget and experimental Nouvelle Vague (French New Wave) heist-crime drama (described by the omniscient Narrator's voice-over pitch: "A few clues for latecomers: Three weeks earlier... A pile of money... An English class... A house by the river... A romantic young girl...") - [Note: the film's title became the name of director Quentin Tarantino's production company]:

  • the title credits: the white letters of the title were super-imposed at eye level, one-by-one; they appeared in semi-random order during quick-cutting (or staccato jump-cuts) upon alternating close-ups of the faces of the three lead characters (sitting next to each other?), creating a stroboscopic effect, while upbeat honky-tonk piano music played on the soundtrack
  • the film's awkward love triangle between two young, aspiring low-life Parisian criminals: sad intellectual dreamer Franz (Sami Frey), vulgar and brutish opportunist Arthur (Claude Brasseur), and beautiful naive ingenue Odile Monod (Anna Karina), who attended classes with Franz
  • the two men's foreshadowing, play-acting or pantomiming of a shootout in the street between Billy the Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett, after which overacting Arthur rolled around on the pavement and pretended painful agony
  • the scene in a classroom in which the English Teacher (Daniele Girard) read French passages from Romeo and Juliet and assigned the students to re-translate back into English - while Arthur kept slipping a sexy love note poorly mis-spelled and referencing Hamlet to the flirtatious Odile ("Tou bi or not tou bi - contre votre poitrine [against your chest], it iz ze question")
  • the lengthy sequence in a Parisian cafe:

    (1) the three characters shifted and maneuvered their chairs locations around a table in a highly choreographed manner, to convey their relationships

    (2) a "minute of silence" (a soundless interlude that was actually 36 seconds) (Franz suggested that they could pass the time by remaining silent for one minute: "Let's have a minute's silence if you've no other ideas... A minute's silence can be very long. A real minute can last an eternity"; although Odile called the idea "stupid," she initiated the countdown for the silence)

    (3) and the impromptu playful scene of the trio of characters each separately line-dancing the non-contact Madison in the half-empty basement of the cafe-restaurant to the recorded music on the jukebox (copied in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (1994)) - it was a badly executed, hip-swaying dance routine with jumps, turns, finger-snaps and hand-claps; during the sequence, the music was partly cut off (reinforcing the sound of their shoe-tappings on the floor), and the narrator's (Godard himself) voice-over told us what each of the participants was thinking or feeling: "Parenthetically, now's the time to describe their feelings. Arthur watches his feet, but thinks of Odile's mouth and her romantic kisses. Odile wonders if the boys notice her breasts moving as she dances. Franz thinks of everything and nothing, uncertain if reality is becoming dream, or dream reality"
Line-Dancing of The "Madison"
  • the sequence of Franz and Arthur reading aloud gruesome crime stories in a tabloid - ending with an account of tribal slaughter in Rwanda
Odile's Metro Ride and Musical Poem
  • the impromptu scene of Odile's ride on the underground Metro when she reflectively observed and asked: "People on the Metro always look so sad and lonely. Look at him, why does he make that face?...It reminds me of a song. How did it go?"; then, she half-recited and half sang a song - using words and musings about isolation by poet Louis Aragon - and put to the music of Jean Ferrat ("J'entends, J'entends"); the scene was supplemented with shots of sidewalk cafés, lone and anonymous individuals, pedestrians, commuters, city lights, her own sad face, and it concluded with Odile in Arthur's bed:

    I saw so many depart like that / All they’d ask for was a light / They settled for so little / They had so little anger in them / I hear their steps, I hear their voices / Speaking of things quite banal / Like things you read in the papers / Like things you say evenings at home

    What are they doing to you, men and women / You tender stones, worn down too soon / Your appearances broken / My heart goes out at the sight of you / Things are what they are / From time to time, the earth trembles / Misfortune only misfortune resembles / So deep, so deep, so deep

    You long to believe in blue skies / It's a feeling I know quite well / I still believe at certain times / I still believe, I must admit / But I can't believe my ears / Oh, yes I'm very much your peer / I am just the same as you

    Like you, like a grain of sand / Like the blood forever spilt / Like the fingers always wounded / Yes, I am your fellow creature

  • the celebrated scene of the three sprinting through the Louvre in nine minutes and 43 seconds, breaking the world record previously set by Jimmy Johnson of San Francisco by two seconds (repeated in Bertolucci's The Dreamers (2003)) (the narrator had set up the scene: "Franz had read about an American who'd done the Louvre in nine minutes 45 seconds. They'd do better. (after the run) Arthur, Franz and Odile beat Jimmy Johnson by two seconds")
  • the sequence of the bungled robbery attempt at the villa of Odile's adoptive Aunt Victoria (Louisa Colpeyn), when the two men wore black face-covering masks, and the intense, 90-second, half-hearted face-off/shootout with drawn guns filmed at mid-distance on the front lawn - resulting in the shooting death of both Arthur's uncle (Ernest Menzer) and Arthur (he was shot at least five times before spinning like a corkscrew to the ground)
  • in the conclusion, as Odile and Franz drove away with some of the money from the robbery, the narrator spoke: "My story ends here like a dime novel. At a superb moment, when everything is going right. Our next episode, this time in Cinemascope and Technicolor: Odile and Franz in the tropics"

Arthur: White Letters of Opening Credits

Love Triangle: Odile, Franz, and Arthur

Pantomiming of Shoot-Out: Arthur vs. Franz

Parisian Cafe:
"A Minute's Silence"

Sprinting Through the Louvre

Bungled Robbery Attempt

Shoot-Out on the Lawn - Arthur's Death

Ending: Odile and Franz Drove Away


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