Breathless, the 1960 French New Wave classic starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Sebert, is not only visually stunning–it’s got one of cinema’s most memorable characters, too.
Who is this awesome chappie, you may ask? Why, none other than Michel Poiccard (Belmondo) himself!
What’s so great about Michel is not the fact that he’s awesome–in fact, I spent most of the movie thinking “Wow, what a d-bag!” No, the thing that makes Michel so memorable is his sheer emotional depth. Even when he’s trying to pull off the Bogart mantra, you can still see that, deep down, he’s just as scared shitless as you or me.
Patricia (Seberg), too, while not having such abyssal depth as Michel, is still rather memorable. She has a certain je ne sais quoi about her–perhaps it’s because she reminds me of Audrey Hepburn, or maybe it’s just the fact that I identify with the fact she’s a stranger in a strange land, but there is something there that gives her a little more oomph than your standard love interest.
The score is just wow. Think of Amelie’s score, and then think of Ratatouille’s score, and imagine they had a wonderful, wonderful baby. You would then get Breathless’s score.
Moving on to the technical aspects of Art Direction/Cinematography, we can see that Godart was way ahead of his time. Sure, he didn’t really have a nice colour palette to choose from (iBreathless is in B/W), but he manages to do things with a camera we wish Rebecca Black could do with her voice: He makes magic with angles and cuts.
The plot, on the other hand, is as mundane as Uncle Vernon–incredibly simple. But sometimes you need simplicity to do good things, so we aren’t going to penalise Godart too much on this one.
Thus we break down his score on a scale of 0 (Bangkok Dangerous) to 11 (The Godfather) like this:
Therefore, Breathless has a 40/44–also known as a 10/11. Pretty good, if you ask me.
My readers should know that there are several instances in which the main character, Michel, looks at–erm–magazines in the vein of Maxim. It’s pretty tasteful, and said scenes are few and far between, but I still don’t recommend watching Breathless with small children or your parents.
*Is forcibly reminded of the time he watched Chinatown with his parents*
Faye Dunaway, OS: She’s my daughter! But also my sister!
My Dad: What the **** are we watching, Shelby?!?!