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BREATHLESS

À Bout de Souffle

Jean-Luc Godard | 1960 | 90 MINS
France | Subtitles
Jean-Luc Godard's gritty and engaging first feature had an almost revolutionary impact when first released in 1960. There is simply no other film which demonstrates so perfectly what it feels like to be young and in love.

In Detail

Small-time thief (Jean-Paul Belmondo) steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student (Jean Seberg) and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Widely regarded as the ground zero of the French New Wave movement and clearly hugely influential and standout in terms of narrative and attitude, the film feels cuttingly original and has an aura of edge and freedom.

Godard paid homage to the pace and energy of American gangster B-movies of the 1940s. He took his plotline from a news item supplied by Truffaut, in which a cop-killer was harboured by his girlfriend and casually betrayed for the reward money. The thin, conventional storyline is swept along by the imaginative, urgent style with its then innovative jump cuts, overlapping dialogue and handheld camerawork. A landmark film, it forever changed perceptions of cinema.

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