Close Up

18 - 24 May 2018: Breathless


Jean-Luc Godard
1960 | 90 min | B/W | Digital
French with English subtitles

"One of the most important films to emerge from the French New Wave, Breathless is set in the fifties, when the influence of American culture in France was being felt at every level of life. Godard presents a story of boy-meets-girl animated by myths of innocence abroad and of the alienated gangster of B-movies. Belmondo’s interpretation of an anarchic criminal – confused, bitter, and cynical – was his first major role and launched his career. Godard conceived of Jean Seberg’s character as a direct continuation of the pampered but worldly creature she played in Otto Preminger’s Bonjour Tristesse. Describing the impact of the film after forty years, critic Phillip Lopate summarizes: "It seemed a new kind of storytelling, with its saucy jump cuts, digressions, quotes, in jokes and addresses to the viewer. And yet, underneath all these brash interventions was a Mozartean melancholy that strongly suggested classical measure."" – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Jean-Luc Godard