Saturday, July 7, 2007

Breathless (1960)

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. ~ Louis Schwartz, All Movie Guide

The herky-jerky style of shooting (quick successions of clips of the same scene-even with the same general direction of shot) was more than a little bothersome.

Instead of seeing this as a love story, I see it as shallow love with Michel being little more than a Hedonistic little boy. And displayed many characteristics of the "Peter Pan" syndrome.

Luckily Patricia does end up paying for his sins. I kept thinking that her blind devotion to him would get her hurt. And Michel's actions by making himself at home in her apartment would have freaked out about anyone including a single woman in a different country.

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