Saturday, March 28, 2009

Breathless (À bout de souffle) (1960) [R] *****

A film review by Louis Schwartz, Rovi.

The first feature film directed by Jean-Luc Godard and one of the seminal films of the French New Wave, Breathless is the story of the love between Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) , a small-time hood wanted for killing a cop, and Patricia Franchini (Jean Seberg), an American who sells the International Herald Tribune along the boulevards of Paris. Their relationship develops as Michel hides out from a police dragnet. 

Breathless uses the famous techniques of the French New Wave: location shooting, improvised dialogue, and a loose narrative form. In addition Godard uses his characteristic jump cuts, deliberate mismatches between shots, and references to the history of cinema, art, and music. Much of the film's vigor comes from collisions between popular and high culture: Godard shows us pinups and portraits of women by Picasso and Renoir, and the soundtrack includes both Mozart's clarinet concerto and snippets of French pop radio. 

When Breathless was first released, audiences and critics responded to the burst of energy it gave the French cinema; it won numerous international awards and became an unexpected box-office sensation.

The supporting cast includes Daniel Boulanger as the Police Inspector, Jean-Pierre Melville as Parvulesco, and Liliane David (Liliane Robin) as Minouche.

Labels: crime, drama, Fifties, Paris
Internet Movie Database
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=87, viewers=82)

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