À bout de souffle

(1960)
   Film. À bout de souffle was the first feature-length film of La Nouvelle Vague, or New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard. Based on a story by François Truffaut, À bout de souffle narrates the flight of its romantic antihero, Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo), from the French police. At the beginning of the film, Michel steals a car and shoots an officer. He plans to escape to Italy with his American girlfriend, Patricia Franchini (Jean Seberg), after collecting money owed to him. He takes risks and delays his flight in part because he is intent upon sleeping with Patricia and convincing her to accompany him. In the end, Patricia reveals his location to the authorities. She says it is an attempt to prove that she does not love him, to avoid being looked after, and to force him to leave. Stating that he is tired, Michel lingers and is later shot to death by police as he flees crookedly down a Paris street.
   Godard dedicated À bout de souffle to Monogram Pictures, a low-budget American company that produced B movies. As several critics have remarked, Godard's film is a tribute to cinema, and especially to American film noir, as reflected in Michel's expressed admiration for Humphrey Bogart. Godard clearly treats cinema as an art with its own set of conventions. His own unique style of film-making reflects such a conception of cinema, and also led to the development of the auteur theory, often closely associated with the New Wave.
   There are several allusions to the cinema in À bout de souffle. Patricia was modeled after a character Seberg played in Otto Preminger's Bonjour tristesse (1958). Director Jean-Pierre Melville makes an appearance in the film as a celebrity author, a reference to Melville's own filmmaking, and presumably, Godard's admiration for him. Michel and Patricia kiss in a theater during the screening of Budd Boetticher's Westbound (1959), another reference to Hollywood cinema. Finally, the ending of À bout de souffle recalls that of Raoul Walsh's High Sierra (1941), a film that stars Bogart, whom Poiccard references during the course of the film.
   Melville's presence in the film is especially interesting, given that he had contributed to the film noir genre in France in the 1950s. Film noir, with its chiaroscuro lighting, crime-centered narratives, criminal antiheroes and femmes fatales, was viewed by some as an assault on the high production values, moral codes, and perceived good taste of the French tradition de qualité or tradition of quality. This type of cinema was disdained by the critics of Cahiers du cinéma, many of whom went on to become New Wave directors. Given that, it is not surprising to find so many references to film noir and other popular Hollywood genres in À bout de souffle.
   Because Godard's first feature film radically challenged the conventions of the film industry, À bout de souffle has sometimes been regarded as the first New Wave film. However, some critics instead cite either Claude Chabrol's Le beau Serge (1958) or François Truffaut's Les Quatre cents coups (1959) as the first. Whatever the case, Godard was clearly working in the same vein as Chabrol and Truffaut, and he obviously vowed to start his art from the ground up, ignoring standard film practices. Godard used natural lighting, a handheld camera, unorthodox film stock usually reserved for photography, and on-site locations. He saw film as a medium that could mix "high" art and popular culture. He rejected the communication of clear points of view, fragmented dialogues, and used jump cuts that interrupt the flow of the narrative. All of this was enhanced by masterful cinematography by Raoul Coutard. The result is a classic of French cinema, and probably one of the most recognized and recognizable films ever made.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • A bout de souffle — À bout de souffle À bout de souffle Réalisation Jean Luc Godard Acteurs principaux Jean Paul Belmondo Jean Seberg Daniel Boulanger Scénario Jean Luc Godard d’après l œuvre originale de François Truffaut Musique Martial Solal Photographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • À bout de souffle — Données clés Titre original À bout de souffle Réalisation Jean Luc Godard Scénario Jean Luc Godard d’après l œuvre originale de François Truffaut Acteurs principaux Jean Paul Belmondo Jean Seberg …   Wikipédia en Français

  • À bout de souffle — (1960)    Film. À bout de souffle was the first feature length film of La Nouvelle Vague, or New Wave director Jean Luc Godard. Based on a story by François Truffaut, À bout de souffle narrates the flight of its romantic antihero, Michel Poiccard …   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema

  • À bout de souffle — Título Sin aliento (internacional) Al final de la escapada (España) Ficha técnica Dirección Jean Luc Godard Producción Georges de Beauregard …   Wikipedia Español

  • À bout de souffle — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Außer Atem Originaltitel: À bout de souffle Produktionsland: Frankreich Erscheinungsjahr: 1960 Länge: 87 Minuten Originalsprache: Französisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • À bout de souffle —    Comédie dramatique de Jean Luc Godard, avec Jean Paul Belmondo (Michel Poiccard/Laszlo Kovacs), Jean Seberg (Patricia Franchini), Van Doude (le journaliste américain), Daniel Boulanger (l inspecteur Vital), Henri Jacques Huet (Antonio Berruti) …   Dictionnaire mondial des Films

  • À bout de souffle — (conocida variadamente como Al filo de la escapada, Al final de la escapada o Sin aliento en ) fue el primer largometraje del director francés Jean Luc Godard, que con su estilo innovador y desafiante de montaje y fotografía inauguró el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • A bout de souffle, made in USA — À bout de souffle, made in USA À bout de souffle, made in USA (Breathless) est un film américain réalisé par Jim McBride, sorti en 1983, il dure 97 minutes. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Commentaire 3 Fiche technique 4 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • À bout de souffle, made in usa — (Breathless) est un film américain réalisé par Jim McBride, sorti en 1983, il dure 97 minutes. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Commentaire 3 Fiche technique 4 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • À Bout de Souffle (Les Soprano) — Épisode de Les Soprano Titre original Denial, Anger, Acceptance Numéro d épisode Saison 1 Épisode 3 Invité(s) voir plus bas Réalisation Nick Gomez Scénario Marc Scaraceni Production …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.