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(À bout de souffle)
France 1959. Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Jean-Pierre Melville, Henri-Jacques Huet


6:30PM - DOORS

Jean-Luc Godard’s great debut feature is one of the cinema’s watershed works: perhaps the most representative and important film of the French nouvelle vague, probably the most influential movie of the 1960s, and still a leading contender for the title of “Coolest Film Ever Made”! It screens here in the beautiful 50th-anniversary restoration — supervised by Raoul Coutard, the film’s cinematographer, and featuring newly revised, newly translated subtitles — we first presented in 2010. Simultaneously a playful parody of and sincere hommage to the American gangster film, Breathless stars Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel, a charismatic small-time crook on the lam from the police in Paris, and Jean Seberg as Patricia, his ambivalent American girlfriend. The film’s use of handheld 35mm cameras, location shooting, and direct sound came to define New Wave aesthetics, as did its most radical technical innovation, the startling, disruptive use of elliptical editing and the jump cut. It is replete as well with the in-jokes, cinematic references, abrupt shifts of tone and mood, and Brechtian (soon to be known as Godardian) asides that would also become hallmarks of the New Wave. Five decades later, Breathless remains utterly engaging and remarkably vital cinema. “It stands apart from all that came before and has revolutionized all that followed” (James Monaco). B&W, 35mm, in French with English subtitles. 89 mins.

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On Opening Night, Simon Fraser University professor and Godard scholar Christopher Pavsek will introduce the retrospective before a screening of Breathless. Pavsek recently published the book The Utopia of Film: Cinema and Its Futures in Godard, Kluge, and Tahimik (2013) for Columbia University Press.



"Much as it may have influenced what was to come later, there is still nothing else quite like it. Its sexual candor is still surprising, and even now, at 50, it is still cool, still new, still — after all this time! — a bulletin from the future of movies."

New York Times | full review

"Modern movies begin here, with Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless in 1960. No debut film since Citizen Kane in 1942 has been as influential."

Roger Ebert | full review