Ahh yes, the cinema marvel that reveals the film school pretence of anyone. Some call it ‘A Bout De Souffle’, with heavy accent on the A and Bout which often means it sounds like Boat. Others say ‘You know the Nouvelle Vague began and ends with this film…’ Yet others seem to obsess over Godard and ignore other greats like Truffaut, Melville, Rohmer and more, solely because of this film. Fetish, histrionics and excess compliments have sent this film into a limbo place, where great films reside. They are judged and so become weak.

What’s the story? A young man (Jean-Paul Belmondo) aimlessly wants to be a tough guy. He wants to be Humphrey Bogart. He meets American girl (Jean Seberg) and they have fun in her Paris apartment. They head out to the streets. They need money to go places. Italy is a cool place and so why not go there. The problem is, he has no direct skill but has a gun and an ego. So when he is suspected of murder, it brings everything down…

That sounds nothing like the incendiary piece of cinema, lore has it. Truth is, it is. Sad fact though it has been so widely imitated, so widely basterdised, that it feels flat. I love BREATHLESS, more for the jump cuts, even more for the cinema references and even more for Seberg. But the sad truth is now, the film historian and the film connoisseur (read Geek) will only be in awe of it. 60 years on, it lacks from our treatment of it, not of its own.


4K treatments can be varied. This is not the Criterion version. STUDIOCANAL have given this a work over that is essentially excellent. By this I mean simply, not blown out if projected. The frame fits. For once.


The 50th anniversary version was better. ‘Room 12, Hotel de Suede’ is the best thing here. An work that allows a deeper appreciation by extrapolation and conversation (short and simple). Film presentation by Colin MacCabe is also good. Clarity and connection. But its weaker across the whole.

Breathless | Blu-ray | Free shipping over £20 | HMV StoreBonus Footage|Documentaries: ‘Still Not… ‘Breathless”, ‘Room 12, Hotel de Suede’|Film presentation by Colin MacCabe, Introduction with Jefferson Hack, ‘Tempo’ Jean Luc Godard episode|Trailers


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