A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
Michel Poiccard, an irresponsible sociopath and small-time thief, steals a car and impulsively murders the motorcycle policeman who pursues him. Now wanted by the authorities, he renews his relationship with Patricia Franchini, a hip American girl studying journalism at the Sorbonne, whom he had met in Nice a few weeks earlier. Before leaving Paris, he plans to collect a debt from an underworld acquaintance and expects her to accompany him on his planned getaway to Italy. Even with his face in the local papers and media, Poiccard seems oblivious to the dragnet that is slowly closing around him as he recklessly pursues his love of American movies and libidinous interest in the beautiful American.Written by
Having made her first few pictures in the classical Hollywood system, Jean Seberg was rattled by Jean-Luc Godard's shooting methods, and there was much tension between them. They also clashed over her character and performance, notably in the scene near the end when Patricia returns to the apartment to tell Michel she has informed on him to the police. According to Raoul Coutard, she and Godard were "at each other's throats" by this point. She wanted to do the scene in an emotional frenzy, whereas he wanted her totally calm and cool. He finally gave in and shot the scene her way, but when it came time to dub it in post, she realized he had been right, so she spoke her lines very low key, which doesn't always match her expressions on screen. Pierre Rissient later said he didn't think Seberg knew what was happening throughout the production and had no idea what kind of film this would be, so she was likely pleasantly surprised at the final product and the success it achieved. See more »
When Patricia (Jean Seberg) is going up the escalator, a plant beside it can be seen moving as if knocked by the cameraman going up in front of her. See more »
One of my dictums of reviewing is that the length of a review often reveals the interest of the reviewer of the subject matter. Was the reviewer reviled, ecstatic or somewhere in between? More or less text, piqued or not, we can make a guess. I note some pretty lengthy comments are provoked by reviewers of "Breathless". I suspect we like it more than we let on.
How can you not? Art house fare is not about pandering to mainstream tastes. So we see some physically stunning actors acting in a very counterculture manner, and are treated to the viewing a real film accomplishment - successfully delivering a product with "Risk" written all over it.
How anyone cannot accept that this was and is a film classic is beyond me. Great film is separated from the not so great and the poor by a few factors. They might be handsome stars, great lines, over the top "special moments" - how many Caddies and TBirds were in Paris in 1960 - small touches like Belmondo's use of a cigarette like Bogart could not have matched or nice musical touches or the neat use of the camera or two people idly chatting in bed as young people do about nothing and everything. So which of these things does the movie lack? If you want coherent straight ahead dialogue and action Gene Autry made a whole series of nice films for your delight.
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