The Henley Falaise Leichlingen Twinning Association will be showing, in French with English subtitles, the 1960 film Breathless (A Bout de Souffle) written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard (1930-2022) on Tuesday 25 October at 7pm at Kings Arms Barn. It stars Jean-Paul Belmondo (1933-2021) as an on-the-run criminal named Michel Poiccard who models himself on Humphrey Bogart. Jean Seberg (1938-1979) stars as his hip American journalism student girlfriend, Patricia.
Michel steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with Patricia and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
The film was Godard’s first feature-length work and represented Belmondo’s breakthrough as an actor. The original screenplay was written by Godard’s (at the time) friend, François Truffaut (but adapted by Godard himself), whose own films (including Les 400 Coups) were starting to make waves at the same time. The film won a best director prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, and was named best film of 1960 by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics. It has proved to be a landmark in cinema history, due mostly to its “revolutionary editing techniques, pop culture references, and a biting undercurrent of intellectualism”.
In the 2021 British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound listing of the greatest films of all time, Breathless was ranked 11th by film directors and 13th by critics.