À Bout de Souffle

À Bout de Souffle

4.5 17
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Cast: Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger

     
 

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

Overview

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

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
Of the films to emerge from France's New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard's feature debut Breathless (1960) is a touchstone. The thin plot plays like a existentialist crime comedy: In bohemian Paris, an ultra-cool lay-about hood (Jean-Paul Belmondo) kills a cop and lams it with an American student (Jean Seberg) -- mostly in her bedroom -- trying to get money and skip town. But simplicity of story gives way to complexity of forms, and, a cinephile to a tee, Godard makes audiences experience film as if the medium had just been invented -- with reinvention being the actual result. There is one dissolve, one iris-in and -out, and erratic jump cutting of Raoul Coutard's crisp, hand-held cinematography, all collaged in a way that makes cinema seem new and improved. This despite familiarities like Belmondo's Bogie lip-rubbing, his character's alias, Laszlo Kovacs, an appearance by director Jean-Pierre Melville, numerous genre tropes, and the shameless quoting of films by Roberto Rossellini, Sam Fuller, and more. An iconoclast on celluloid, Breathless is hip, entertaining, and oh-so-French. It is rightly credited as changing the way we watch movies, and its audacity and style continue to influence filmmakers and amaze audiences worldwide.
All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
A loving pastiche of film noir yet an exuberant slap in the face of Hollywood convention, A bout de souffle is a movie landmark that wowed early 1960s audiences with its ultra-cool swagger, amoral outlook, and energetic style. Adopting a loose and shaggy narrative structure, the film follows Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a two-bit thug who models himself on Humphrey Bogart, steals from unsuspecting lovers, and, like the protagonist in Albert Camus's The Stranger, kills for no apparent reason, as he chases after debts, commits larceny, and tries to bed Patricia (Jean Seberg). Shot with hand-held cameras in natural light, the film has the gritty, documentary-like feel of such Italian Neo-Realist classics as The Bicycle Thief and Rome Open City, yet its visual style also breaks every cinematic rule in the book: characters and extras stare directly into the camera, edits occur in mid-shot, and the camera seems willfully restless. In the process, director Jean-Luc Godard gleefully breaks the illusion of reality, always reminding the audience that it is watching a movie. Ever the film buff, Godard packs this film with allusions drawn equally from American pop culture and high art: Nicholas Ray is referenced alongside Dylan Thomas, a 1956 Thunderbird Coupe alongside William Faulkner's Wild Palms. Godard's iconoclastic style, coupled with his constant referencing, might give the impression that the film is a vast inside joke, were it not tempered with a deep existential pathos for its characters. During the famous bedroom sequence, we witness Michel and Patricia, two thoroughly unlikable figures, try and ultimately fail to forge some sort of bond; they are too involved in their worlds to connect. François Truffaut once remarked, "There is the cinema before Godard and the cinema after Godard." A bout de souffle is the masterpiece that launched Godard's career and, in so doing, changed the face of cinema.
Chicago Reader - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Jean-Paul Sartre declared this a masterpiece at an early Paris screening, and there's certainly no doubt that this is the quintessential existentialist movie in style as well as attitude.... In short, mandatory viewing.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/25/2014
UPC:
0715515111515
Original Release:
1960
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1A
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
90

Special Features

Archival interviews with Director Jean-Luc Godard and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, and Jean-Pierre Melville; Interviews from 2007 with Coutard, Assistant Director Pierre Rissient, and filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker; Two video essays: filmmaker Mark Rappaport's Jean Seberg and critic Jonathan Rosenbaum's "Breathless" as Criticism; Chambre 12, Hôtel de Suède, an eighty-minute French documentary about the making of Breathless, with members of the cast and crew; Charlotte et son Jules , a 1959 short film by Godard featuring Belmondo; French theatrical trailer; Plus a booklet featuring an essay by scholar Dudley Andrew writings by Godard, François Truffaut's original treatment, and Godard's scenario

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jean-Paul Belmondo Michel Poiccard
Jean Seberg Patricia Franchini
Daniel Boulanger Police Inspector
Jean-Pierre Melville Parvulesco
Liliane David Minouche
Henri-Jacques Huet Antonio Berrutti
Van Doude Journalist
Roger Hanin Carl Zombach
Liliane Robin Minouche
Francois Moreuil Cameraman
Jean-Louis Richard Journalist
Richard Balducci Tolmatchoff
Philippe de Broca Actor
Claude Mansard Used-Car Dealer
Jean Domarchi Drunk
Michel Fabre Plainclothesman

Technical Credits
Jean-Luc Godard Director,Screenwriter
Raoul Coutard Cinematographer
Georges de Beauregard Producer
Cecile Decugis Editor
Lila Herman Editor
Pierre Rissient Asst. Director
Martial Solal Score Composer
François Truffaut Original Story

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Breathless
1. Michel [5:51]
2. Ham And Eggs [4:05]
3. Patricia [3:36]
4. Tolmachoff [5:02]
5. "Bogey" [5:22]
6. Van Doude [3:53]
7. Hotel Room l [6:01]
8. Hotel Room ll [8:08]
9. Hotel Room lll [7:37]
10. Thunderbird [6:37]
11. Parvulesco [3:29]
12. Laszlo Kovacs [5:13]
13. On The Lam [10:06]
14. Berruti [3:53]
15. Hideout [3:57]
16. Informer [3:38]
17. "Dégueulasse" [3:36]
1. Jean-Luc Godard x 2 [6:47]
2. Jean-Paul Belmondo [8:15]
3. Jean Seberg [6:23]
4. Jean-Pierre Melville [5:33]
Disc #2 -- Breathless
1. Learning His Trade [5:02]
2. Dialogue And Casting [5:13]
3. Shooting Tricks [2:56]
4. Locations And Lighting [6:46]
5. Godard's Influence [2:00]
1. Day 1: Godard [9:05]
2. Day 2: Chabrol [9:00]
3. Day 3: Coutard/Rissient [10:17]
4. Day 4: Moreuil [8:13]
5. Day 4: Decugis [9:37]
6. Day 5: David [10:34]
7. Day 6: Belmondo [9:02]
8. Day 7: Tolmachoff [5:34]
9. Days 8 And 9: Rue Campagne-Première [7:02]

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À Bout de Souffle 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I may change my review upon reception of my order.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Forced to watch this movie for French class, I have now become an overwhelming of French New Wave cinema, especially the works of Jean-Luc Godard. Although, even after watching several more French New Wave films, this one remains my favorite. The film just exudes cool. I could not help to wish that I could sit beside the characters and join into their conversations. Delicious!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Indubitably one of the more momumental works of avant-garde cinema, Godard manages to capture the feeling of an era in Breathless. Wonderful casting and fantastic, revolutionary cinematography that disorientates the audience in an utterly unpredictable way.
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