in about 100 words or less
France 87m, B&W
Director: Jean-Luc Godard; Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Jean-Pierre Melville
Breathless is a freewheeling dramatic romance about a young free-spirited American woman living in France who knowingly associates with a criminal wanted by the police for shooting a policeman. In helping establish French New Wave cinema, the film employs unorthodox cinematic grammar, including a “jump-cut” style of editing which gives the film the appearance of missing footage and arguably a more realistic or documentary feel. Despite a relatively mundane plot, the spontaneous photographic style and the charismatic performances of the lead characters, who widely discuss life, love, art, music and culture, provide the basis for a self-conscious and surprisingly engaging film. Its numerous references to both popular, and so-called high culture, have long since become a staple of directors such as Quentin Tarantino whose film company “A Band Apart” was an homage to another of Godard’s films (Klaus Ming May 2011).