BREATHLESS

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Country: France

Year: 1960

Duration: 1.30

Languages: French / subtitled in Finnish and Swedish

Original name: À bout de souffle

Category: , ,

This cutting edge of the French New Wave struck like a bomb when it premiered – and it hasn’t aged a day! Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a small-time criminal aimlessly wandering the world, accidentally kills a policeman, runs from the growing media circus to the Parisian underworld, and attempts to advance his relationship with the American Patricia (Jean Seberg), who dreams about becoming a journalist. The moral stance of these two restless philosophical creatures living in the moment might not hold up in the daylight, but the scenes of building their relationship, peaking between hotel curtains, are industry classics.

Godard reforms the language of cinema like Jimi Hendrix reformed guitars, and draws his mismatched, upside, downside and sideways material from comic books, tabloid headlines and cinema adverts, Martial Solal’s jazz and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, the cancerous, dying face of Bogart alongside American cars shining in the night at Montparnasse, Faulkner’s statements, and childish trolling, and more.

Every single word and gesture of the fascinating main couple anticipates a cruel finale. But more importantly, they are indifferent in the face of the inevitable: what’s more essential than the fear eating away your soul, is to live your life! Despite the treachery of the vile woman, Michel chooses his own destiny. Freedom can only become complete once you let it go. (Lauri Timonen)