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BREATHLESS

Director: JEAN-LUC GODARD

90 minutes| France| 1960| Subtitled| Black and White| D-Cinema


In its 50th year, Jean-Luc Godard’s declaration of New Wave intent is still looking as fresh and frisky as ever, especially in this new digital restoration. Yes, it’s a classic, but somehow the word feels wrong for a film which trades in of-the-moment insouciance from beginning to end. Dedicated to Monogram Pictures, Hollywood’s cash-strapped B-Movie sweatshop, it’s at once a skimpily-plotted crime picture – wherein fugitive crook Jean-Paul Belmondo finds his past catching up with him – and an affectionate affirmation that all you really need for a movie is available light, a hand-held camera, a fearless editor and (above all!) cool performers doing cool stuff. On-screen nonchalance is one of the true tests of filmmaking genius however, and as Belmondo does his Bogart impression or heartbreakingly adorable Jean Seberg swans down the Champs-Elysees in her New York Herald Tribune t-shirt, what was on-set spontaneity now has the magic allure of a timeless movie icon. Breathless indeed. Notes by Trevor Johnston

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