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Breathless (Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] [1961]

Jean-Paul Belmondo , Jean Seberg , Henri-Jacques Huet    Suitable for 12 years and over   Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: 11.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Breathless (Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] [1961] + Le Mepris  (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] + Le Cercle Rouge (Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product details

  • Actors: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Michel Fabre, Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Directors: Henri-Jacques Huet
  • Producers: Jean Luc Godard
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Sep 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VD5S5G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,451 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo), an ex-airline steward turned hoodlum, steals a car and heads to Paris. Discovering a gun in the car's glove department, he uses it to shoot and kill a cop who tries to wave him down. He wants to escape to Italy with his American girlfriend Patricia (Jean Seberg), but the police are after him, and he is distracted by all the pleasures Paris has to offer.

Story-wise, Jean-Luc Godard's A Bout De Souffle (1960) (aka Breathless) is pretty thin, but as its director always proclaimed, you don't need much in the way of narrative to make a movie. Sometimes a girl and a gun are quite enough. The effortlessly cool and laconic Belmondo mirrors the director's mischief and flamboyance. With his fat cigarette stub perched on his bottom lip, his shades, his felt hat and white socks, he looks like a cross between a left-bank intellectual and an American gumshoe (perhaps his beloved Bogart). With her close-cropped hair and New York Herald Tribune T-shirt, his girlfriend (Jean Seberg) is equally stylish. A Hollywood star (she had appeared in the lead in Otto Preminger's Saint Joan in 1957 when she was still a teenager), the Iowa-born Seberg is turned by Godard into the lithe embodiment of European radical chic.

The film has a spontaneity that studio-bound offerings of the time missed by a mile. Cameraman Raoul Coutard uses natural light and real locations whenever possible. Lots of the pet tricks in the movie--jump cuts, whip pans and improvised tracking shots--have been copied relentlessly by imitators ever since. A Bout De Souffle, though, is unique: anarchic, liberating and hugely stylish, "the best film around now", as its trailer proclaimed. It made Godard, almost overnight, into "the world's most discussed, interviewed and quoted filmmaker". --Geoffrey Macnab

On the DVD: Godard's greatest movie has been lovingly transferred to disc by Optimum, and comes with several extras including trailers and production notes and an old Godard short, Charlotte Et Son Jules, also starring the swaggering, arrogant Belmondo. --Geoffrey Macnab

Product Description

Jean-Luc Godard's groundbreaking tale of the brief love affair between petty criminal Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and young American student Patricia (Jean Seberg). Michel has killed a motorcycle cop and is now hiding out in Patricia's Paris apartment, but the police are getting closer, and as Michel falls deeper in love with Patricia, his time also gets shorter and shorter. Godard's film, one of the first and most important statements of the French New Wave, caused a revolution in the way films were made, opening up many new, previously untried possibilities for cinema.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film noir ... French style 9 July 2005
Dedicated to the Hollywood gangster movies of the 30's and 40's, Jean-Paul Belmondo plays a small time crook with a penchant for Bogart and the illusory glamour of a film noir mobster. "Un Bout de Souffle" demonstrates how a simple narrative can be shaped into a thoroughly absorbing and charismatic film.
Belmondo has a face which looks like it was carved out of granite. It's a disreputable mug, complete with fat, crumpled cigarette constantly adhering to his lip. The image is iconic. He steals a car, discovers a gun in its glove compartment, and suddenly his transformation to matinee idol is complete. In an ensuing police chase, he guns down a copper.
He continues his flight to Paris, where he hopes to collect some money he's owed and make an escape to Italy. But his fantasy world begins to implode as he exposes himself to the encroaching claustrophobia of reality. Paris is no longer a big enough city. This is a small time crook whose limitations are circumscribed by his own rigid thought processes and inability to cope with frustration. Director Godard delivers a lesson in criminology in this hero-come-villain's inability to think ahead or plan, his vulnerability to spontaneity and immediate gratification, his chaotic vision, his blind optimism that something will turn up and that he won't get caught.
Jean Seberg plays Belmondo's girlfriend, an American journalism student. She becomes his sole link with the reality of a law-abiding world. He wants everything done his way, wants things to happen now, shows little awareness of consequences. But the net is tightening and he begins to recognise emotions. But falling for a woman is even more oppressive than the imploding lifestyle. If you trust someone, you expose yourself to abuse.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb DVD, excellently put together 16 May 2001
By A Customer
The DVD transfer of this groundbreaking fascinating film is exceptional. Alot of effort has gone into the picture quality, which is crisp and faultless. The revelation is the subtle and thoughtfully put together subtitles, extremely difficult in a film with such an enormous amount of French "slang".The DVD of Godard's classic re-interpretation of the limitations of cinematic technique, isn't packed full of extras. The extras available are however, insightful. For example the biographies are informative and the Godard short available on the DVD shows the potential of what Godard was to achieve in his extended hotel room scene. This is a brilliant transfer with excellent picture, sound, subtitles and limited but valuable extras.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laconic crook , iconic femme fatale... 9 Oct 2005
By L. Davidson VINE VOICE
Many of the reviewers seem to see "Breathless" as being primarily of historical interest now , a groundbreaking film in its time introducing pioneering cinematic techniques. Thirty five years after its release and it still makes for absorbing viewing and has a sense of freshness about it that many modern films lack. The storyline is fairly slight; a petty crook (Belmondo) steals a car ,kills a policeman and goes on the run. He spends most of his time in Paris trying to win the love of his lukewarm American girlfriend (Seberg) and endeavouring to collect some money from an elusive Italian cohort. The strength of "Breathless" lies in its characterisation, Godard's stylish direction and the unorthodox romantic relationship between Belmondo and Seberg. There are also plenty of wry observations and philosophical musings from the bohemian couple to keep the viewers attention as the police close in on antihero Belmondo. Despite its age and it being shot in monochrome ,the picture and sound quality on this DVD is excellent and this contributes significantly to the overall enjoyment of a quality film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Style over substance 19 Nov 2007
This 1959 moovie is quite boring at times. There is a long sequence of Belmondo and his American girlfriend talking inane banter in her apartment, all the while drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.

Godard's 1959 directing debut was all about style over substance, and the story (to the extent that there was one) is almost incidental. Needless to say, that didn't stop Hollywood from doing a slick remake starring Richard Gere 24 years later. Time has not been good to this movie. It probably only deserves 4 stars. Worth a look.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will end up Breathless 31 Aug 2012
By Taki34
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Jean-Luc's debut feature is truly a masterpiece in more ways than one. Considering this movie is now over 50 years old it is as relevant now as it was on its release. It almost creates it's own world in which it can be seen again and again without ever losing it's freshness and surprise. Be it the hand held camera techniques, the jazz infused soundtrack or simply Jean Seberg, this movie set the standard for the New Wave movement and has inspired generations of independent film makers since.

If you Love film then this is your first stop..........................
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By technoguy VINE VOICE
Jump-cuts,abrasive dialogue,panning shots,the use of real locations filmed on the run,recalls the moment of A Bout de Souffle,50 years ago this month.Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo,a handsome broken-nosed actor and the iconic Jean Seberg,protégé of Otto Preminger.Its director,Jean-Luc Godard,was part of the nouvelle vague,including Truffaut, Melville,Chabrol,Rivette and Rhomer.This was Godard's debut-formerly a Cahiera du Cinema critic-,still looking so fresh and modern,the epitome of cinematic invention, vitality and cool.Shot in high contrast monochrome,rapidly edited, interspersed with quotations from literature,art and philosophy.Belmondo plays the Bogart-imitating Michel,the swaggering,mysoginistic petty criminal anti-hero,who steals a car in the south of France and kills a policeman on the road to Paris,where he takes up with an old girl friend,the well-healed Patricia(Seberg),the young,New York Herald Tribune-selling American in Paris.

Chabrol,who served as supervising producer on `Breathless',famously warned that great subjects rarely make great films.And Godard gnomically said:"All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl."This was the basis of the brief scenario that Truffaut,an admirer of film noire and pulp fiction,provided for Breathless.The couple talk of lifeand literature in a seedy hotel,make love and visit the movies while he tries to get money owed to him by criminal associates.The police close in,Patricia betrays him.The style is everything,a calculated destruction and remaking of traditional film grammar.The camera is hand-held,the editing is abrupt and inconsistent.Raoul Coutard's masterly monochrome photography is harsh,hard-edged,reliant on natural light.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great, book needed for uni studies, good for those who are interested in understanding the 60's french new wave cinema. I needed this for my English Degree.
Published 12 months ago by Sharfa Sorwar
2.0 out of 5 stars A classic - however characters are extremely dumb
This is probably a classic of new wave movie as everyone say. Unfortunately the girl (played by J. Seberg) is incredibly dumb as if we were a reality tv show like big bother or... Read more
Published 13 months ago by JY
3.0 out of 5 stars Unexciting
Jean-Paul Belmondo (Michel) is an a-hole. We know this because he tells us so at the beginning of the film. And he's not wrong. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Alex da Silva
2.0 out of 5 stars Flawed case design...
At first glance these StudioCanal digibooks seem very nice. Unfortunately they have a major flaw- the center hub that the disc is attached to. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Blu-ray fan
4.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Must-have Classic!
An absolute must-have classic! It took a while to arrive because I wanted this original version, so it was sent to me from Paris, but well worth the wait! Read more
Published 19 months ago by Uzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
It was a great surprise to receive the film on time! The film is a must see.
I'm very happy of my purchase!
Published on 22 Jan 2012 by Lu
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten out of ten.....
A Boute de Soufflé aka Breathless was one of the first foreign films I watched after I decided to watch films 'properly', back in 2003/4. Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2012 by Tim Kidner
3.0 out of 5 stars reply from supplier - ref Breathless
I have had a message saying this item will be replaced so happier will be even happier when it arrives safely - thank you
Published on 17 July 2011 by S. Stokes
1.0 out of 5 stars emporers new clothes or what?
Is it me ?. I like Jean Paul Belmondo, I love French Cinema, but I just don't get this film. A Story that could be told in 10 minutes, an irritating score , and both leads on Auto... Read more
Published on 30 April 2011 by hereford all black
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathless
This wonderful classic film on DVD is a must for everyone, the extras include a great documentary on the great; Jean Seberg.
Published on 23 Feb 2011 by Malcolm Thomson
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