À bout de souffle (english name: Breathless) is the first feature film by Jean-Luc Godard and I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I had only somewhat recently seen his first feature film Breathless, which seems to be so often remembered as one of the 'best' films of French New Wave cinema.
Breathless follows Michel Poiccard a character who at first is seemingly a sociopath and early in the film murders a policeman for very little reason. The film quickly cuts to Paris where we see Michel stealing money, cars and anything else he desires. His aim is ultimately to escape and go to Rome with an American named Patricia Franchini, a person whom he had meet only a few weeks earlier and throughout the film the love Michel and Patricia have for one another is highlighted and put into question.
In spite of all of Michel's reckless and at times violent behavior Breathless remains a story about love, youth and the felling of being infallible when in love. It is of course not as simple as that as Breathless not only features several strong performances but also features characters who all have their own unique desires and motivations which throughout the film blurs just how true the two leads love is (and is a questions the characters ask themselves throughout).
In spite of all this to me what is most intriguing is that contradictory to Michel's frequent sociopathic behavior he genuinely seems to care and love Patricia which becomes more evident throughout the films proceedings. The point and purpose of which i'm sure could be debated endlessly, as is the case with many of themes and ideas present in the film. But suffice to say their is more to the story then is in most films, especially those that are love stories.
Whilst Breathless is inescapably stylish and no doubt groundbreaking their are numerous jump cuts present (whereby the shoot cuts from one angle to another angle that is extremely similar). Whilst i'm sure many will detest the suggestion, but I personally felt that such cuts detracted from the scenes they where present in and I have been left puzzled by the purpose of their inclusion.
Breathless is a film that many will view differently but ultimately is a film that I intend to revisit and left me breathless (pardon the pun).