Wednesday, June 2, 2010

#156 Breathless (1960)


Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Jean-Pierre Melville, Henri-Jacques Huet, Van Doude

A young thief named Michel kills a cop and heads to Paris. He hopes for two things: to get the money he's owed so he can escape to Italy... and to bring the American girl, Patricia, he is accidently falling in love with along with him. Patricia being totally clueless to his secret life as a criminal, the two reluctantly fall in love with one another through banter, cigarette smoke, and sex. Eventually, she uncovers the truth about his character and makes a series of decisions that ultimately affect both their lives.

Upon reading other reviews of this film, all I read over and over was "this is an art student's film." I can't even begin to act like I know anything about film, technically or thematically. My only acquaintance with that type of knowledge comes from one Intro to Film course in college and years of friendship with my budding director friend, Eddie. This film, though, was fresh. It was incredibly sloppily edited, but with purpose. The dialogue was chosen both carefully and carelessly. This could be an interesting comparison or it could make me sound like a complete idiot, but it really reminded me of some of Andy Warhol's films.

There have been a few films on the list so far that I've just felt like a dummy when trying to write about them afterward. I feel like there is lots of great significance in this film not only to the apparently-esteemed career of Godard, but to film-making in general. I'd like to do some reading about this film, or maybe watch it again sometime with the commentary activated.

I do know, however, that the characters are charming and likable despite their moral shortcomings. The cinematography and editing are interesting at the very least as well. A complex film made to look easy, I suppose. Looking forward to discussing this with some of my more-knowledgeable friends.

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