Tuesday, 15 November 2011


On Wednesday 26th October, we watched Breathless: A bout de souffle, a 1960 french film by Jean-Luc Godard.

The film attracted much attention for it's use of jump-cuts. I must say I didn't like this style of editing at all as the film lacked continuity and made it more confusing to watch. There is also an example of impossible match on action; a type of editing where the subject remains the same, but the background jumps to different scenes. This can be seen in the scene 'Patricia in the car' - for me, this added to my dislike of the film and I struggled throughout to take it seriously.

The two main characters are Michel and Patricia, a petty criminal on the run from the police and an American student and journalist. Michel turns to Patricia after he kills a policeman and wants to run away to Italy. She refuses to go with him and unknowingly hides him her apartment. After many failed attempts at seducing her, Patricia learns that Michel is on the run from the Police, and when she realises she is not in love with him, she betrays him. In the film's final scene, Michel is shot by the Police and, after a very prolonged death run, dies in the street. I found this final scene to be one of the most poorly acted scenes of the film, and considering it was the death of a character, I found it humerous rather than concerning or upsetting.

Throughout the film, i found Michel to be a disrespectful character, especially towards women, and at times this angered me to an extent, when he referred to women as 'dogs' or 'scumbags'. He also had a laidback approach to crime throughout the film and his disrespect for the police, referring to them as 'pigs' made his charcter even more intolerable.

One thing I did like about the film was the portrayal of Patricia, a strong-minded young women who was able to stand up for herself and didn't give into the likes of Michel - when he was pestering her for sex, even trying to look up her skirt, she would slap him and put him in his place, if only for a while. I think that this reflected the real-life revolution where women were becoming more equal to men and it was a time of liberation.

Overall the acting was quite poor I felt, with many reviews I have read saying that Patricia's french was inaccurate, although I would not be able to confirm this, relying on the subtitles for the whole film, but it added to the clumsiness of the film and made it more humerous, which could have been the intention of Godard, who I think did not realise the success his film would bring.

However much I dislike the film, what I liked most about it was the elegance of Paris, shown through black and white film, and Patricia - how even with a scumbag like Michel, she remained strong-minded and beautiful throughout.

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