breathless

BREATHLESS in the moment

BREATHLESS in the moment

Why is Jean-Luc Godard’s BREATHLESS truly breathless? Why does it still feel fresh to me after seeing it countless times, to my filmmaker friends, to my students in their twenties? Watching the 50th anniversary restored print at the Film Forum last week, I relaxed into the large screen version of this French New Wave classic. This film pulses like an organism, moving through space and time quickly and elliptically in the Paris street scenes and then slowing down and luxuriating in the bedroom scene between the intriguingly glowing Jean Seberg and the endearing grumpiness of Jean-Paul Belmondo, a scene that lasts for what seems like half the film. It’s not just that it’s energetic or that it’s full of stylistic surprises, innovative editing even for today, stunning actors, and marvelous real world Paris locations… It’s somehow “in-the-moment” in a way that films rarely are… a kind of Buddhist crime caper…