Saturday, August 30, 2014

Breathless Review

My second viewing of Breathless by Jean-Luc Godard and I reached the same conclusion: this film is just so god damn cool. 

The first time I screened this film I was losing my Godard virginity and I took note of just how confident a film it was, how beautifully it flowed from start to finish, and it wasn't until after that I discovered that this was, in fact, the feature length debut of Godard. My goodness what an assured feature to start off a legendary career.

The style, the score, the dialogue, and the brilliant casting of the leads all bring this snappy and seemingly simple film to life and I just want to live in its world. I want to fly to Paris right now just to walk the streets, the music from Breathless playing as I stroll.

I love the scene inside Patricia's apartment so much. I admire that Godard was willing to spent a good portion of the middle act of his first film in such a quiet and claustrophobic location, a place that seems so safe for a man who is on the run from the law. Sure, on the surface it is just two people talking, but it so effectively takes a break from the city streets that it almost makes us forget the stakes of the story. Almost being the key word because despite their isolation and privacy, on two separate occasions their conversation is overshadowed by the sound of blaring sirens passing by outside, one of my favorite subtle touches of Breathless. On the one hand, it could just be exterior sound through the open windows, nothing that carries any real meaning, but it could also foreshadow that no matter how safe and quiet and happy things seem for Michel and Patricia in that moment, it can't last forever and the crimes of Michel would catch up to them eventually.

Oh, one last thing. Is it humanly possible to watch this film and not get at least a slight crush on Jean Seberg? So beautiful, stealing the frames with ease, a confidence to her that only adds to her appeal. I am not familiar with her work outside of this film, but it is clear she was an amazing talent. What a shame her time on this earth was cut short at the far too young age of 40, but thanks to Breathless her beauty feels immortal and timeless.


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