HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
   
 
Newest Articles
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
   
 
  À bout de souffle No, But I Saw The MovieBuy this film here.
Year: 1960
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulangier, Henri-Jacques Huet, Roger Hanin, Van Doude, Claude Mansard, Liliane Dreyfus, Michael Fabre, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Luc Godard, Richard Balducci, Liliane Robin
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Romance
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a small time crook who lives for the moment, and dreams of escaping France to start again in Italy, somewhere in Rome if he's lucky. Today he steals a car and sets off into the countryside, driving far too fast and far too dangerously as well, all the while chatting away to the audience he likes to believe is hanging on his every word and move. Pausing to nearly pick up a couple of hitchhiking women but then deciding against it when he judges them too ugly, he discovers a gun in the glove compartment and is delighted, but it will prove his downfall when he is stopped by a traffic policeman and casually shoots him dead...

Michel's problem, you see, is that he thinks life should be more like the movies, and that's what guides his behaviour in this, perhaps the most famous of the Nouvelle Vague movies to emerge from France in the late fifties and the rest of the sixties. Jean-Luc Godard was the man at the helm, an arrogant figure who nevertheless possessed boundless talent for creating the sort of cinematic magic that his main character here wants to exist in, and he had assistance from fellow New Wave notables François Truffaut (on story duties) and Claude Chabrol (as some kind of creative consultant), marking this out as an ideal synthesis of the movement's pioneers.

À bout de souffle, also called Breathless in English, certainly made waves around the world, but not everyone responded to it, and so it remains today with many proudly proclaiming that it does nothing for them, unaware of its great influence down movie history in works they do like. What always comes up in relation to this was the jump cuts, an editing technique Godard devised as an economical method of keeping the plot moving at a neat ninety minutes, and still conveys a sense of urgency, as if Michel is growing aware his time is limited. But there was more to the appeal of this, as a lot of what makes it so vital was a vivid immediacy: something about its use of locations made it feel as if you were really there in 1959 Paris, with all that potential ahead of you.

Helping were the performances of the central couple. Belmondo was apparently greatly surprised when this was lauded as an instant classic, yet his informal charisma and way with throwing out lines as if he really were Humphrey Bogart, the star Michel idolises, crafted a personality who should have been superficial and repellent (he shows no remorse about his crimes) yet actually came across as a doomed romantic with an almost parodic sense of humour. Meanwhile, Jean Seberg surviving Otto Preminger's career advice as his girlfriend Patricia Franchini was the sort of femme fatale you could well imagine Bogart falling for against his better judgement, an aspiring journalist who currently sells papers on the street, and whose connection to Michel is as shallow as it is necessary: they are a perfect couple in that they are both geared towards setting up the finale.

That finale sums up the irony and tragedy of Michel in that he loves the idea of being in a movie so much that life rejects his starry-eyed dreaming until it has a chance to give him the most fitting movie movie ending to that career. He has just made too many enemies from the cops to his fellow criminals, but the final betrayal comes from someone he thought he could love, with Godard's suspicion of true romance both bitter and oddly romantic in itself. With the sleek black and white photography effortlessly evocative of the time and place, À bout de souffle was an encapsulation of the cool and glamour of the best kind of escapism, all the while acknowledging the popular myths that represented. Later on, Godard would make sure to publically reject the Hollywood product, yet here, in his feature debut, he was dedicating his efforts to Poverty Row studio Monogram and rather slavishly emulating their style. If you ever wanted to walk down a Paris street calling "New York Herald Tribune!" or tell a beautiful woman who asks if she should wear a bra "Az you like eet, beybey!" this was the film for you.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2760 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: