À bout de souffle (Breathless). 1960. France. Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard. With Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Bemondo, Jean-Pierre Melville. 35mm. In French; English subtitles. 90 min.
Iconic, stylish, and often cited as inaugurating the French New Wave, Breathless is also a distinctively modern romance: three parts ambivalence, one part love, as on-the-run punk Jean-Paul Belmondo and Herald Tribune–hawking girlfriend Jean Seberg redefine movie cool. From a sketchy outline by Cahiers du Cinėma colleague Franćois Truffaut, Godard seemingly reinvented the cinema. “The atmospheric fatalism of the French gangster movie hot-spliced with the plot-driven fatalism of American Film Noir…. It lit the fuse for the whole youth movement in cinema. Some of today’s young directors may not even know how indebted they are to Godard’s work; the fact remains that Breathless is where it—they—all began” (Phillip Lopate).