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Billy the Kid

B-movie fantasy meets hard-scrabble reality in Jean-Luc Godard's exquisite 'Band of Outsiders'

B-movie fantasy meets hard-scrabble reality in Jean-Luc Godard's exquisite 'Band of Outsiders'

Long before it became fashionable for filmmakers to dismantle the fourth wall, Jean-Luc Godard had devoted himself to the cinema of self-awareness: He was in the business of making movies, the saying goes, that made viewers intently aware they were watching a movie. This is as true of his still-wondrous 1960 debut, “Breathless,” a form-busting riff on American gangster-movie traditions, as it is of his 39th feature, “Goodbye to Language,” an eyeball-searing ode to the disruptive properties of 3D.

That self-deconstructing impulse may not seem as much in evidence in the exquisite “Band of Outsiders” (Bande à part), an excellent digital...

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