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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film noir ... French style
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...
Published on 9 July 2005 by Budge Burgess

versus
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ahead of its time but still over rated....
Sorry but i've just watched "Breathless" (À bout de souffle or "out of breath") by Godard twice this week and although i can appreciate its historical importance when made in 1960,in using innovative photography,low budgets and "restless" plot - its still comes across as pretentious and slight in content.

The lead male is HUGELY annoying and would put...
Published on 27 April 2008 by Simon Mack - creative


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film noir ... French style, 9 July 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Breathless [DVD] [1961] (DVD)
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.
This is a fast-paced film, despite its introspective moments and long central scene in Seberg's bedroom, one in which Godard creates a very real sense of claustrophobia and breathless anticipation of what will go wrong next. There are echoes of Fellini's 8½ as Seberg interviews a famous artist. He suggests Belmondo has one chance at personal fulfilment - the petty crook can become an iconic image, a body on a street after a shoot-out with the law.
A wonderful blend of Belmondo's rugged testosterone-rich masculinity and Seberg's cool charm and sophistication, this is a tightly directed and focussed film which both celebrates the film noir and highlights some of the absurdities and pretensions of crime fiction and cinema.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb DVD, excellently put together, 16 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Breathless [DVD] [1961] (DVD)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Cast Its Light Forward Over the Years, 3 Mar 2010
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Breathless [DVD] [1961] (DVD)
"A Bout de Souffler," ("Breathless")1960, a French crime drama/romance/thriller was the first of the "Nouvelle Vogue"("New Wave") films - made by a school of filmmakers associated with the noted French cinema enthusiasts' magazine "Cahiers du Cinema--" principally Jean Luc Godard(Jean-Luc Godard - The Ultimate Collection [DVD]); and Francois TruffautThe Francois Truffaut Collection - 6 Disc Box Set (Exclusive to Amazon.co.uk) [DVD] [1959]); among others. Truffaut wrote the script; Godard directed; it was his first film. It starred the "jolie-laid," (beautiful-ugly) Jean-Paul Belmondo(Jean-Paul Belmondo - The Screen Icons Collection [DVD]); making his film debut as Michel Poiccard/Laszlo Kovacs, a petty thief-cop killer. And the stunningly beautiful Jean Seberg,(Bonjour Tristesse [DVD]); then 21, as Patricia Franchini, a seemingly aimless American girl taking classes at Paris's famed university, the Sorbonne, selling The New York Herald Tribune International Edition along the City's equally famed shopping street, the Champs Elysee. It introduced techniques that were to become commonplace: hand-held cameras, jump cuts, a cool jazz soundtrack, as it told its story, filmed on the streets of Paris for less than $50,000: even then a bargain basement price.

In plot, actually, it could be a typical B crime thriller of the 1930's or 40's; just what Truffaut and Godard were aiming for-- Poiccard kills the cop in the first few minutes of the film -we're never quite sure why. Thereafter, he just wants to raise enough money to flee to Italy with Patricia; who doesn't wish to go, and will eventually take steps to assert her independence. Poiccard is much more self-aware than an earlier generation of filmic criminals were; he's a great admirer of Humphrey Bogart; constantly trying on the mannerisms of that iconic actor. It's not easy to sympathize with him; yet we eventually do, to some extent.

"Breathless" is widely considered a great, groundbreaking film, and so it is. But my relationship with it is a little different than most people: I first saw it upon its initial release, as a college freshman. Someone once remarked that great books we read when we are young serve as lighthouses: casting their light forward on where we will eventually go. Well, for me, actually, it was movies rather than books, that illuminated the way forward, and "Breathless" was surely a lighthouse for me. Was it the coolness of the characters? Their ironic, disaffected viewpoints? For sure, the two leads are portrayed as shallow and vain, yet the movie spoke to something in the young woman I was; wish I could put my finger on it. So "Breathless" is no longer technically groundbreaking, of course, but hopefully it can still serve as a lighthouse for those coming upon it for the first time.
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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 (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Breathless [DVD] [1961] (DVD)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Edition, 20 Aug 2009
There are several different editions of Godard's groundbreaking first film to buy but this American Criterion edition of Breathless really is the one to buy!

First of all, it features a new high-definition digital transfer approved by Director of Photography Raoul Coutard which is something quite special for fans of the film. There is also Criterion's usual improved subtitle translation! Bringing these two technical features together really makes for a treat on the technical side of things...

The extras are far and away better than any of the other DVD releases and includes interviews with Godard, Belmondo, Seberg and Coutard! There is also an interview with Jean-Pierre Melville as well as several new video essays: Mark Rappaport's "Jean Seberg" and Jonathan Rosenbaum's "Breathless as Film Criticism" - add to this a short documentary on the making of the film and Godard's 1959 short starring Belmondo, "Charlotte et son Jules"!

It really is a special film worthy of a special edition DVD!

Buy this one...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten out of ten....., 4 Jan 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Breathless [DVD] [1961] (DVD)
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. A friend back then found it a bit ridiculous, even amateurish. I liked it then and parts lodged in my brain and I ached to see it again and prove my friend wrong.

As part of the Jean Luc Goddard collection, it whistled through its 90 minutes runtime in what seemed like half that - its freshness and that 'amateurishness' that my friend had harped on about was then, a new approach to filmmaking - cut editing, which adds dynamism and vigour.

The absolutely audacious lead crosses Bonnie & Clyde with Malcolm Mc Dowell in A Clockwork Orange - I can only see Mr Mc D being any sort of alternative actor that could have pulled it off.

As the flash harry Michel, Jean-Paul Belmondo is utterly superb and convincing. Jean Seberg as his American, flight attendant date that he sets out to impress. I read a reviewer (amateur) who moaned that the hotel bedroom scene was boring and wishy-washy where nothing happened. But that's the point and beauty of it and makes it the best part. Anyone who's spent aimless afternoons in the semi AND intimate company of a potential or actual lover, just knows that inane and meaningless chatter that goes on and that being was so brilliantly written and naturally acted.

He just occasionally says 'get your top off' whilst she organises his life, her life and everyone's life around him - he just lies in bed smoking - she goes about and does 'things', possibly useful, or otherwise.....

The gritty underbelly of the world's most Romantic city with petty crime and petty characters and the audacious thriller scenes remind of the original British Scarface (set in Brighton) and of course, the French heist movies of this time, pioneered by such as Bob de Flambeur from Jean Pierre Melville (who actually has a small part in this). Back then, fifty years ago and so singularly French (& since much replicated by/in Hollywood).

All in all, an absolute cutting-edged, scathingly scorching social thriller of refreshing naturalness. I can see a Scorsese-ness coming out of those brooding, angry and powerful scenes and characters.

Think you've seen all the best and most influential films? Not without this one, you haven't!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A certain "je ne sais quoi"!, 1 Aug 2009
By 
H. meiehofer "haroldm" (glasgow, scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Breathless [DVD] [1961] (DVD)
It is quite difficult to define what is great about this film, but great it certainly is.

Some of the acting is decidedly ropey and the narrative structure is occasionally incoherent (or is that challenging?)

In spite of this this is a very attractive film. It looks absolutely beautiful. It is an amoral film with an almost perfect anti-hero.

It is a very stylish film and unlike many of the period it appears to have dated very little. This is curious as fashion and a contemporary jazz soundtrack are essential elements of the movie, yet it feels more "up to date" than many current films.

The influence of the film is clear and many of the directors in both France and the USA owe a great debt to Jean-Luc

A must see for any real fan of the cinema.
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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 (Newcastle Upon Tyne) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Breathless [DVD] (1960) (DVD)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Godard,iconoclast..deliberate destroyer of cinema, 7 Jun 2010
By 
technoguy "jack" (Rugby) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Breathless [DVD] [1961] (DVD)
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.Melville,director of existential gangster pictures,makes an appearance as himself,the first of such cameos in a Godard picture.He evokes other directors,Fuller,Preminger,Aldrich and Bogart's image looms.We are kept at a distance by Brecht's alienation effect,told that we are watching a film,but also that movies,like our lives are halls of mirrors.Godard deliberately created confusion to `achieve a greater possibility of invention',shooting in the busy streets of Paris.This film,like 400 Blows,is a must-see for any true lovers of cinema.In cinemas this June and DVD in September by Optimum Releasing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film noir � French style, 1 Aug 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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.
This is a fast-paced film, despite its introspective moments and long central scene in Seberg's bedroom, one in which Godard creates a very real sense of claustrophobia and breathless anticipation of what will go wrong next. There are echoes of Fellini's 8½ as Seberg interviews a famous artist. He suggests Belmondo has one chance at personal fulfilment - the petty crook can become an iconic image, a body on a street after a shoot-out with the law.
A wonderful blend of Belmondo's rugged testosterone-rich masculinity and Seberg's cool charm and sophistication, this is a tightly directed and focussed film which both celebrates the film noir and highlights some of the absurdities and pretensions of crime fiction and cinema.
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Breathless [DVD] (1960)
Breathless [DVD] (1960) by Jean-Luc Godard (DVD - 2010)
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