15A90 min

Director: Jean-Luc Godard Starring:Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Paul Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Henri-Jacques Huet, Roger Hanin Released:Tue 09 Apr 2024


“To become immortal, and then to die.” Lip-stroking pug Jean-Paul Belmondo’s on the run, shooting cops and stealing cars – as well as cash from the handbag of thickly-Iowa-accented, Herald Tribune-hawking girlfriend Jean Seberg; as the couple engage in boudoir philosophy, staring contests, sous blanket tussels, and plenty of le smoking. Erstwhile Cahiers du Cinéma critic Godard’s début feature turned a sketchy outline from critical confrère François Truffaut into one of the benchmarks of the New Wave, seemingly reinventing cinema itself, and immediately rocketing Jean-Paul Belmondo (in his ninth film) and Seberg (the beginning of her European eminence following two Hollywood flops) to world stardom, and beginning Godard’s decade of supreme hipness, of seemingly compulsive, and often outrageous, innovation.

The pace is non-stop – a better translation of the title is “out of breath” – thanks to the startling, then-revolutionary use of jump-cutting (when the first edit came in at 3 hours, New Wave godfather Jean-Pierre Melville – who cameos as novelist “Parvulesco” – advised losing the subplots, but JLG instead did the unheard of: cutting freely within shots); while the “je m’en fous” attitude of both protagonist and film proved the prototype of movie cool that every would-be cinéaste still aspires to.

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