Wednesday, May 1, 2013

348. A bout de souffle

A bout de souffle
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

We have been on a streak of films lately that I have not been particularly excited about.  Unfortunately, that streak did not end here because Breathless failed to entertain me in the slightest.

Let me start by saying I tried really hard to like this film.  I had heard so many good things about it that I almost felt as if it was my obligation to enjoy the movie, sort like how I felt when I saw The Godfather for the first time.  Ultimately, however, I failed in liking this film and once again, I cannot be the cultural snob that I aspire to be.

First of all, the main characters are super annoying.  The man is petty criminal turned murderer who is basically obsessed with money and sex (insert joke about how that applies to all men).  The woman is a slightly crazy hypocrite who enjoys feeling misunderstood.  Together, they make quite a pair!

This film has been lauded for its dialogue, but frankly, I wasn't too impressed.  Actually, I was a bit creeped out by some of the things that the man said, like that he would strangle her if she didn't smile.  I have been told I don't smile enough but I have never received any death threats about it.  And for that, I am thankful.

This movie is also acclaimed for its innovative use of jump cuts.  So…I guess thanks for that, Godard?

Overall, just a film that I could not enjoy and I can only hope I won't receive comments about how ignorant I am.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Godard could not afford a dolly so he pushed his cinematographer around in a wheelchair.

Godard had to shorten the film but was reluctant to cut out any scenes.  Instead, he trimmed scenes here and there, the result being the jump cuts we see.  So, it was a lucky accident?  I take back my thank you.


  1. I didn't know where to make this comment so I guess any random review of yours would do:

    You shouldn't be allowed to watch movies and certainly not talk about them.
    If you hate everything you've seen why did you even start this blog? You could at least just keep it to a star rating or a "like of/don't like it" basis so you wouldn't show how you can't even understand the purpose, meaning and beauty of the the movies you've been talking about.
    Anyway... cheers,
    Manuel Nobre

    1. Haha I shouldn't be allowed to watch movies? That seems a bit extreme. Can I at least watch the ones you don't like too?

    2. Sigh...what a typical troll. Your condescending tone and inability to say anything of value gave you away in an instant.
      Go back to Reddit.

  2. I'm sorry and I don't want to start any discussion but just sincerly apologize and try to explain the reason for my previous comment.
    Indeed I was very rude but I was baffled after reading so many negative reviews on so many great films that I like AND don't like.
    Case in point: A Bout de Souffle which I respect but don't care about. Unlike Pierrot, le Fou which I love and have seen several times.

    I was wandering through your posts ranging from films and directors I appreciate to others I really can't understand or enjoy at all (yet!) and in most of them what I could read in your reviews was a lack of respect or even a genuine interest in understanding what the director (and other members of cast and crew) is trying to say or do there.

    I don't pretend to know and fully understand all movies, not even the ones I like. Cinema is for me a intense and complex art which takes many viewings and much dedication to fully grasp and enjoy (well, any other art form!)
    I hated La Regle du Jeu the first time I saw it and it took me at least another 3 viewings for me to "get it" and it suddenly become one of my favourites of all time.

    I just felt sad that this wonderful art form could be interpreted with such carelessness and lack of compassion (yes, compassion and love. For a work of art is not an inanimate object but a living breathing thing)

    But I do know you don't mean to be a professional critic and these are all your personal opinions which I do respect.
    They just left me thinking why can't a film be crazy and complicated and plotless and soundless and baffling and stupid and yes, EVEN dull??
    I believe that art can take many forms and that we should embrace and respect them all by trying to understand them.
    It seemed to me that you can only accept one (obviously I didn't read all of them. The judgement that lead me to write the previous post was based on the big majority of the ones I've read).

    But then by saying this I'm also admitting that we must also accept everyone's taste and opinion and if I want my own to be accepted I should have kept quiet and respectfully accept yours.

    Sincere apologies for the rudeness (and for the possible english spelling and grammar mistakes),
    Manuel Nobre

    1. Thank you for apologizing. I don't claim to understand every movie either. However, I obviously don't hate every film I watch. Some of the best movies I have reviewed include Wages of Fear, The Searchers, Some Like it Hot, Anatomy of a Murder, Seven Samurai, 12 Angry Men, African Queen, etc. The list goes on and on.

  3. Oh wow.. what an intriguing little exchange...
    Thank goodness for your 'side bar' that shows us what has been posted on entries from the past that otherwise would have been missed.

    A lot of respect to .. well both of you.
    Manuel for (in the end) apologising and ending with a reasoned and intelligent argument with good points. That was very good and noble of you to admit / realise your first two WERE rude.. but we all say things we regret, and it takes a lot to then come back and apologise. My thoughts went from 'What an offensive *******' to 'Well done, good point' in a few moments.
    To Amanda for not just deleting the first two postingings that SOUNDED like they came from an offensive Troll.

    This is not a professional critic board, you are not telling people what to see or not to see.. This is your thoughts. We may disagree.. but so what?
    We may feel you 'missed the point' of a film you say was dull.. but it is then up to us to say '' Hey Amanda, I think you misinterpreted that scene.. what they were trying to say was..'

    May I politely suggest.. Manuel.. If you were to withdraw the worst comments "You should not be allowed to watch films" and "Your condescending tone and inability to say anything of value" which were uncalled for, and we all accept your apology, put it down to you had a bad day and decide you are not a troll,..and we all look forward to hearing from you again.
    Amanda can be .. honest.. in her opinions, (several I have disagreed with) but she is always well open to hearing counter arguments, respectful of other peoples opinions and many a good discussion has developed from such.. err.. frank exchange of views. But lets keep it civil.. politeness costs nothing.
    If you really dislike her style.. well leave alone.. but your last post bodes very well for hearing from you again.

    1. Thank you so much Ray for your kind defense. I agree; it was nice of him to apologize. But man. I can see why Andrew no longer allows anonymous comments.

  4. But of course i will defend you right to free speech when someone attacks you and wants you to tell you to shut up.
    Get your 'je Suis Amanda' t shirts and button badges here folks.

  5. Frankly I delete this sort of comments on my blog. Criticism is great, disagreement is natural and intereting, rudeness just do not belong on a blog.

    Breathless is, by the way, a bloated, self-important pile of horse dung. I disliked everythin about it, including what it wanted us to think of the charaters. I am with you on this one, Amanda.

  6. .. But as for the film..

    By far the best Goddard.

    A deliberately ambiguous comment that can be taken however you want.

  7. Haha forgot about this exchange. I think when you post comments like that, it says more about you than your intended target so I keep them up. Sorry if you have got comments like that TS. I don't see how anyone could say anything like that about your blog though; all of your posts are so thoughtfully written. And Ray, glad you liked it. In retrospect, maybe I should have just said I did!

    1. Thankfully I have had very few comments of this kind, although not all posts are particularly nice to the movies. Dog Star man comes to mind. In any case blogs are personel and we can went all our fury at the movies as long as we do not do it to each other.
      Thanks for visiting by the way.
      Ray, I think that says more about Goddard thank Breathless. As it happens, I disagree. He did make movies slightly better than this.