Part of Weekend Classics.
“To become immortal, and then to die.” Lip-stroking pug Jean-Paul Belmondo’s on the run, shooting cops and stealing cars — as well as cash from the handbag of Iowa-accented, Herald Tribune-hawking girlfriend Jean Seberg —as the couple engage in boudoir philosophy, staring contests, sous blanket tussels, and plenty of le smoking. Erstwhile Cahiers du Cinéma critic Godard’s début feature turned a sketchy outline from critical confrère François Truffaut into one of the benchmarks of the New Wave, seemingly reinventing cinema itself, and immediately rocketing the late Jean-Paul Belmondo (in his ninth film) and Seberg (the beginning of her European eminence following two Hollywood flops) to world stardom — and beginning Godard’s decade of supreme hipness and seemingly compulsive, often outrageous innovation.
The pace is non-stop — a better translation of the title is “out of breath” — thanks to the startling, then-revolutionary use of jump-cutting (when the first edit came in at three hours, New Wave godfather Jean-Pierre Melville — who cameos as novelist “Parvulesco” — advised losing the subplots. Instead Godard did the unheard of: cutting freely within shots). The “je m’en fous” attitude of both protagonist and film proved the prototype of movie cool that every would-be cinéaste still aspires to. (Synopsis from the Film Forum)
Restored in 4K from the original camera negative by Studiocanal and CNC at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory (Bologna)
“There are precious few titles in the history of cinema that can truly be called ‘revolutionary,’ and Godard’s BREATHLESS is one of those few — it gave us a new way of making movies and a new way of thinking about them, a new rhythm of life, a new way of looking at ourselves. And, like all great pictures, it seems as fresh and startling today.” —Martin Scorsese “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. Much as it may have influenced what was to come later, there is still nothing else quite like it…. It is still cool, still new, still after all this time, a bulletin from the future of movies.” —A.O. Scott, New York Times