À bout de souffle (1960)

Despite my very few viewings of Jean Luc-Godard’s films, I will be quick to admit that he is not my cup of tea. However, it seems that I’ve always a craving to watch one of his movies; like something forbidden to me until once I start to watch it, I remember why I didn’t want to keep watching his films in the first place lol. But as being new to film, I think it’s important to keep watching them so I can be more familiar with his style and be able to compare and to contrast them with other New Wave directors such as Truffaut.

To my surprise, this film was not bad in my eye. Compared to Masculin Féminin, it was more appealing because of its (loose) story line. Michel was, as he admits in the very first line, an asshole and I did not like him. Perhaps the one aspect of him that I did like was his admiration for Bogie. His character can be described as judgmental, cynical, impatient, blunt, and selfish. His girlfriend, Patricia  I had more sympathy for. Though she claims to be independent yet I’m not sure why she did not kick Michel out after the first three times of pestering her to have sex with him. Aside from that, she seems to have it together: she is working at New York Herald Tribune, practical, and quite pensive. My favorite scene of the film was when she went to interview and while everyone was asking him about love and women in France vs. America, Patricia asked about his biggest ambition in life; that question goes unanswered.

As for Godard’s directing and editing, it’s rather different. He seems to skip pieces of time in scenes where he feels it’s not important. It passes the time along and gets straight to the point. An example is when he goes to the woman’s apartment to hide the gun. While the dialogue connects, the shots do not. One shot is a medium shot of Michel and the women where the next the composition is different, like Michel is now holding a cigarette and lighting it. This editing shows us what is important to Michel and at times how quick an action happens, like when he murders the cop.

I’m well aware of the New Wave’s break from the typical classical Hollywood narrative and non-linear structure (ESPECIALLY in Masculin Féminin), however for the time being I believe that Truffaut is more my speed. The only trouble is that I’ll have to remind myself that before I watch another one of his films.

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Rating: ♚♚♚ 1/2

 

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