Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Screenwriter: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Henri-Jacques Huet, Roger Hanin
Godard's first feature is one of the original and best known artifacts of the French New Wave movement of the '50s and '60s. Breathless expressed the director's love for American pulp and Italian Neorealism, while using formally-challenging techniques (jump cuts, long takes) and experimenting with narrative.
What's best about Godard, especially in his early work, is that his intellectualism never becomes too serious. Breathless features a larger than life Jean-Paul Belmondo, a man-sized child in gangster's clothes, who runs around Paris as if it were a playground, chasing pleasure while running from boredom (and the law). He shoots a cop, meets a woman (Jean Seberg). On paper, the plot sounds unfinished, but the film is so in love with the possibilities of film, it gains a vitality that transcends what can be written with words. —GT