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The first feature film directed by Jean-Luc Godard and one of the seminal films of the French New Wave, Breathless is story of the love between Michel Poiccard, a small-time hood wanted for killing a cop, and Patricia Franchini, an American who sells the International Herald Tribune along the boulevards of Paris. Their relationship develops as Michel hides out from a dragnet. Breathless uses the famous techniques of the French New Wave: location shooting, improvised dialogue, and a loose narrative form. In addition Godard uses his characteristic jump cuts, deliberate "mismatches" between shots, and references to the history of cinema, art, and music. Much of the film's vigor comes from collisions between popular and high culture: Godard shows us pinups and portraits of women by Picasso and Renoir, and the soundtrack includes both Mozart's clarinet concerto and snippets of French pop radio. When Breathless was first released, audiences and critics responded to the burst of energy it gave the French cinema; it won numerous international awards and became an unexpected box-office sensation.~Louis Schwartz
Running audio commentary with fim critic David Sterritt
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Rated 4 out of 5 stars
Great film for a French new wave pioneer
Breathless is definitely a classic. Godard made the most with what little resources he had with this breakout film. The short, quick, and stylish shots changed film history forever. The overall story of a reckless young man who goes a little too far and finds himself looking out for the police may come off as the "same ol story" by today's standards, but this was definitely a first of its kind when it was originally released.