Breathless

Godard's films of the sixties are rich in intellectual references, gorgeous visuals, music by Michel Legrand-classically French, in their postmodern way-but scrappy, jazzy, black-and-white Breathless remains what Russell Merritt called “the outlaw artifact of the nouvelle vague.” A very young Belmondo plays the outlaw hero Michel Poiccard alias Laszlo Kovacs, who kills a cop and hides in plain sight in Paris. An even younger Jean Seberg announces herself loudly as an American student working for the New York Herald Tribune. If her French is painful to the ears, her face is a thing of wonder for Godard as it is for Michel, who loves her because she's “drôle,” fun, and because for her, everything, love especially, loyalty certainly, is a question. The half hour they spend in her bedroom earnestly building a construct of love is a bookend to the half hour spent by Paul and Camille in Contempt carelessly razing it.

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