Quick Review : Breathless (1960)

As one of the first ‘French New Wave’ pieces of cinema, I had plenty of hope and expectation for this film. Godard wants to tear up the rules of contemporary cinema, and he definitely succeeds in that. But does that equal a great film? I’d say not quite great, but very, very good. Godard invites you to critique and dissect his film, just as he critiqued and dissected contemporary cinema. The plot is almost non-existent, dialogue takes precedence of pushing the story forward, and people stare at the camera (both the actors and passers-by, the latter because Godard shot most of the exterior shots without permission).

breathless walk down boulevard
He’s a ladies man!

However, Godard immediately grabs the viewer’s attention, as does the main character Michel, whether he’s imitating Humphrey Bogart or seducing young women. The dialogue here is key, as you never want the conversations to end. I could watch these characters talking for another 90 minutes at least. This is cinema on a shoestring budget, rough and ready, and tearing up the rule-book while the director, actors and the audience have a right ball.

Hammy’s Rating: 4/5

Memorable Scene

Michel and Patricia’s conversation in the hotel room

Memorable Quote

‘I don’t know if I’m unhappy because I’m not free, or if I’m not free because I’m unhappy’