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Breathless (The Criterion Collection)
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On the second disc, Coutard and assistant director Pierre Rissient relive the making of the movie, followed by direct cinema pioneer D.A. Pennebaker dissecting its documentary aspects. In their video essays, Mark Rappaport (From the Journals of Jean Seberg) explores the life of the actress, while writer Jonathan Rosenbaum looks at Breathless as a form of criticism. The digital extras end with 1993's Chambre 12, Hôtel de Suède, Claude Ventura's made-for-TV doc and Godard's playful short Charlotte et son Jules. The 80-page booklet contains an essay from author Dudley Andrew, a selection of Godard statements, and François Truffaut's script treatment accompanied by Godard's adaptation. As Melville states, Breathless was "a film of exceptional charm and grace." The same could be said of this lovingly compiled boxed set. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Top Customer Reviews
Jean-Luc Godard's first feature, "Breathless," was released in 1960, introducing the New Wave and changing cinema forever. Godard used jump cuts, handheld cameras, zoom lenses and a new editing style to take the viewer places never ventured before. No artificial, glossy stage sets in this movie. Along with the protagonists, we travel up and down small side streets, into local bars and sidewalk cafes, across boulevards and, for inconsequential moments, brush the lives of passers-by, who have nothing to do with the screenplay, but always play a role in our daily comings and goings. The fragmented rhythm of modern life is translated here. Godard used sound in the same way, adding street noises, bits of conversations and music to add to the movie's authenticity and pace. This was indeed innovative at the time. And it still holds up. Watching "Breathless" forty-five years after its debut, 21st century technology does not detract from its dynamism or relevance in the slightest. In fact, with each viewing, I find the film every bit as exciting and poignant as I did the first time.
Jean-Paul Belmondo plays the feckless, foul-mouthed car thief, anti-hero and Humphrey Bogart fan, Michel Poiccard.Read more ›
The film is one of the finest examples of New Wave cinema, from its jump cuts, its depiction of Parisian life, its incredibly sustained sequences of pure converstaion and dialogue, all of which dominate what is essentially a simple chase picture.
Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg are a perfect mix of classic and contemporary, both remaining timeless. Their relationship really unfolds in the film's central sequence, a near 25-minute conversation in Seberg's bedroom, in which such subjects as Faulkner and fornication are explored aptly. And that is what the film is known for----when was the last time a thriller contained the audacity to feel free to explore areas residing outside the genre?
Like "Pulp Fiction," one of its distant relatives, this is a film where plot and story are present but removed far into the background, while character, dialogue and visual texture are placed in the foreground. In its pristine black-and-white cinematography, its innovative use of camera movement and position, its raw, defined performances, and its tireless style and visual invention, "Breathless" is a great film and belongs in any serious film lover's video library.
Contemplating the society when Breathless was shot and comparing it with our current society might not be the best approach. It is also silly to think that a young audience will get all the references to older films, which Breathless intends to shove aside with a refreshing style. For example, jump cuts are something that today's youth have seen millions of times. If people watch MTV or any other television channel they will see the infamous jump cut in action in both recorded and live format. So why bother watching Breathless? Well, to fully appreciate Breathless the audience should watch films from France and the rest of the world that were made before, let's say in 1955. In this way the audience will build an idea of how stiff and structured films were without much visual surprise, which big production companies still depend on occasionally as they use them as a safety net in fear of having a bomb at the box office.
Breathless is actually a refreshing breath of a new wave that hit the world of the cinema in the 1960s. This fresh idea helped develop film and cinema into what it is today, and this is why Breathless is such an important film. The film broke the cinematic rules that were in use by the production companies. For example, Godard wrote his shooting script during his morning coffee while probably inhaling his nicotine fumes, scenes where not rehearsed and the idea of how to frame a shot came though the motion and the making of the film.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Godard's cinematic techniques as well as character portrayals makes this movie five stars. This film is definitely one of the best I've seen and it's one you have to make sure to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Melissa
I wasn’t sure whether to give this one two or three stars, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Technically I don’t think there is any innovation in “Breathless” that isn’t in... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rick Woodward
I imagine that this was an innovative movie as far as story telling is concerned. Beyond that I found it pretentious without profundity, self involved and mastibatory.Published 5 months ago by claudio kuhn
Everyone who knows movies, knows how important Breathless is and why. A groundbreaking achievement in style and an intriguing character study. Read morePublished 5 months ago by NoOneYouKnow
50+ years later, still holds up. Godard created a timeless and often below the radar classic with breathless. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Andrew Pennington
Very disappointed. Doesn't look or feel cool or sexy like the reviews say. Maybe it did once, but if so it doesn't wear well.Published 8 months ago by Kent A. Russell