May 22nd: Old School

breathless

111. Á Bout de Souffle (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)

I probably should have watched a French new-wave film before. This seems like an appropriate place to start though. Godard’s film is quite difficult to watch for the first time. It must have seemed like an exciting and fresh way of telling a story – jump cuts, fractured narrative. It’s all Bogart imitators and Hepburn ciphers, cigarette smoke and sunglasses. Unfortunately the cultural cliché and repeated imitation have dampened the effect somewhat. It’s become irretrievably dated by its own success in much the same way I suggested Soylent Green had. There was even a Fast Show sketch.
Note: A Bout de Souffle is listed in the Neon book 1000 Essential Movies on Video under ‘French New Wave’.