Cheeky Design



I don’t think this daydream is specific to me, in fact I know it’s shared by many (filmically and otherwise). You’re in a crowded place, things have gotten a bit dry, and all of sudden a cool song comes on, either in the background or in your head, and you just give into the moment and dance. Maybe others join you, preferably strangers (or people you’re considering a heist with). When it’s done, you just go back to your activity as if nothing ever happened. But it did, and that’s the magic.

Jean Luc-Godard captures this daydream perfectly in his 1964 film A Band of Outsiders. A romantic-heist-dramedy (if you can categorize it) which has many iconic moments. None, however, surpassing the “Madison” dance sequence, as named by it’s actors Anna Karina, Sami Frey, and Claude Brasseur. TIME magazine, at the time, coined it “an impudent little dance of alienation”. I couldn't have said it better, and completely consider that an unintended compliment. However you name it, the charm of the sequence, aside from the amazing spontaneity in nature of it, is how flawed the choreography actually is. Anna misses a beat, Claude turns too soon…it adds to the believability of the moment. Add to that Godard’s voice-over of the characters present emotional states (“Arthur keeps looking at his feet but he thinks about Odile’s mouth, about her (or, maybe, his) romantic desires…Odile is wondering whether the two boys noticed her two breasts, which move beneath her sweater with every step…Franz is thinking of everything and nothing. He doesn’t know whether the world is becoming a dream or the dream, a world”) and you have perfection.