Breathless

March 22, 2022 Members’ Choice 8:30pm
There will be a post-screening Q&A with Professor Peter Evans

A classic of the French New Wave, A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) was Godard’s debut feature film, a career breakthrough for Belmondo and a career recovery for Seberg after her travails in Otto Preminger’s Saint Joan and Bonjour Tristesse.

The plot is pure pulp. Despite the heavy intellectualising over the years, the film is best seen as an exercise in cinematic style, which went on to influence works as diverse as Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam, Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde and Terence Malick’s Badlands, not to mention the entire oeuvres of Scorsese and Tarantino. That it should have such an influence on American directors is an ironic tribute to a film inspired by American gangster movies and what would come to be known in the 1970s as film noir.

Screenplay co-written by J-L Godard, François Truffaut & Claude Chabrol

“As sordid as is the French film …—and sordid is really a mild word for its pile-up of gross indecencies—it is withal a fascinating communication of the savage ways and moods of some of the rootless young people of Europe (and America) today” Bosley Crowther, New York Times (1961)

“Here in one quick, sure move, knowing somehow just what he wanted and how to obtain it, he achieved a turning point in the cinema just as surely as Griffith did with “The Birth of a Nation” and Welles with “Citizen Kane.”” Roger Ebert (2003)

“Breathless” is a pop artifact and a daring work of art, made at a time when the two possibilities existed in a state of almost perfect convergence. That is the source of its uniqueness.” A.O. Scott, New York Times (2010)


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Film Information
Release year: 1960
Running time:   90 mins
Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard
Language: French (English subtitles)
Country: France
Classification:
Genre: Drama
Starring: Jean-Paul Belmondo,
Jean Seberg,
Daniel Boulanger
Awards: Berlin International Film Festival:
Silver Bear (best director);
French Syndicate of Cinema Critics:
best film;
Prix Jean Vigo:
best feature film;
Golden Goblets (Italy):
Golden Cup
More info:

IMDb
Rotten Tomatoes
WFC Audience Score:  73%

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