An important unifying factor, in what Skolimowski regards as his most “musical film”, is the strikingly percussive jazz score composed by Krzysztof Komeda (who had also composed the score for Bariera [Barrier, 1966]) which was recorded with Don Cherry, Gato Barbieri, René Utreger and Kenny Clarke.
The [opening credits] song (and its theme) do in fact recur throughout the movie in the manner of a love-theme; but it is a melancholy love-theme, underlining the continuing loneliness rather than expressing ‘togetherness’. It is used most beautifully in the sequence in the deserted motor showroom, when Marc and Michèle sit in the two halves of a divided car which is rotating slowly on a turntable.
You know the cinephile game that consists of proclaiming, ridiculously but passionately: ‘cinema is Rio Bravo, is Le Mépris, is Viaggio in Italia, is Gertrud, is Eyes Wide Shut’ ... ? Well, now I too can play the game, because cinema for me is, categorically, Jerzy Skolimowski’s Le Départ (1967). How can this amazing film have counted for so little in the annals of post-Nouvelle Vague film history, when it should figure as one of the great culminations of ‘60s cinema?