Friday, November 18, 2016

Dvd/150: A BOUT DE SOUFFLE (Breathless, Jean Luc Godard, 1960)

Marking cinematographer Raoul Coutard's death and the late Jean Seberg's 78th anniversary, I watched again the film that influenced so many filmmakers, A BOUT DE SOUFFLE, and it's still exciting and provoking.

Dedicated to Monogram Pictures studios, the plot is pure film noir: small-time criminal Michel steals a car in Marseille and, while driving to Paris, shoots a policeman.  Once there, he unsuccessfully tries to borrow money while hiding out with sometime-girlfriend, American student Patricia.

Patricia has found out she is pregnant, maybe it's Michel's.  Over the course of a day, they chatter, make love, argue, but always with a strange disconnect because of language or attitude.

Fellow nouvelle vague directors Claude Chabrol and Francois Truffaut were involved in the script but Godard's shoot-and-run film captures the dizzying excitement of 1960s young European cinema personified by the ageless performances of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg.

Shelf or charity shop? Jean will be selling the New York Herald Tribune on my shelf for some time to come..

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