Marc, a 19-year-old hairdresser, has to use his imagination to get his hands on a rally car in the next 48 hours. The plot serves as a pretext for the irresistible performance of Jean-Pierre Léaud, a witty catch-me-if-you-can figure, caught half way between fantasy and sudden maturity.
It's impossible to understand this film unless you know that before directing Le Départ in Belgium, Jerzy Skolimowski obtained an exceptional authorisation to shoot "west" of the Berlin Wall. Trained in the famous film school in Lódz with Roman Polanski, the filmmaker discovered the consumer society, the furs worn by great ladies, the fashion shows and car shows. He opted for a subject in this vein, the quest for a sports car (which he loves), if possible a Porsche. This was 1967 and Jean-Luc Godard considered Jerzy Skolimowski his equal. After deciding to focus his career on art and painting, Skolimowski did not acquire the fame of the New Wave directors, but nevertheless enjoyed commercial success with Moonlighting, Best Screenplay at the Festival de Cannes in 1982.
Le Départ, a series of snapshots in black and white, won the Golden Bear in Berlin and has now come to light again thanks to a recent restoration. Krzysztof Komeda, a jazz virtuoso on a par with Wayne Shorter or Herbie Hancock, added one of his finest soundtracks, which has since become a legend.