Breathless Project
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Breathless Project
French New Wave, Existentialism, and the Auteur
Curated by Amanda Wells
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Cinemascope: Breathless

Cinemascope: Breathless | Breathless Project | Scoop.it

"Breathless is a treatise on existentialism, love and betrayal; it is also a clever rework of as well as a loving homage to the popular American genres of gangster and film noir, and the prevalent pop culture."

 

Breathless is a very existential movie, stressing the individual and the acceptance of the absurdity of human existence.

 

 

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The Hotel Scene - Existentialism

Some of the key ideas of existentialism, such as stressing the individual’s importance over society’s rules and the evident absurdity of life, make up the core themes of Breathless. In this long hotel room scene, which takes up nearly a third of the screen time, the two lovers talk, joke, argue and fool about, but frequently fail to completely understand each other. 

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Breathless Final Scene

This scene is a strong indication of the French New Wave. The film was actually shot in the streets of Paris, and the tracking shot of Michele and Patricia is very jumpy and unsmooth.

 

"Instead of cutting to the end of the chase, Godard decided to prolong Michel’s running scene and let his audience feel the exhaustion the protagonist feels."

 

This is important because it showcases the desire for French New Wave filmmakers to break with tradition and hone in on the aspects of film that can make the story feel real to their audience.

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French New Wave

French New Wave | Breathless Project | Scoop.it

"An artistic movement whose influence on film has been as profound and enduring as that of surrealism or cubism on painting, the French New Wave (or Le Nouvelle Vague) made its first splashes as a movement shot through with youthful exuberance and a brisk reinvigoration of the filmmaking process."

 

Breathless is probably the most often looked at film when the topic shifts to the French New Wave.  Breathless is a "kinetic joy, full of jump cuts, lavish Paris location shooting, with cool jazz on the soundtrack, a noirish mood, and a lovely, literate romance, all adding up to one for the ages." 

 

 

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A French New Wave Existential Movie

A French New Wave Existential Movie | Breathless Project | Scoop.it

"The existentialism concepts of the dread of humanity is seen through the effects of Michel and Patricia's actions; in the end Michel is dead because of Patricia's CHOICE to betray him, and ultimately because of his choice to be a criminal."

 

This article helps us to realize the emphasis that all things happening are because of will, and Michele & Patricia's condemnation to be free.

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Breathless & The Auteur Theory

Breathless & The Auteur Theory | Breathless Project | Scoop.it

"The auteur theory is inextricably linked with Godard and the French New Wave. Simply put, the auteur theory is the idea that the film director “writes” his or her film as the author writes his or her novel."

 

In breaking all common traditions, Godard affirmed the role of the director and realized the ideal of of the auteur theory. By making his film as he wanted to, Godard exemplified and popularized the idea of films being creations like novels or paintings.

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Jean-Luc Godard: The Original Auteur

Jean-Luc Godard: The Original Auteur | Breathless Project | Scoop.it

Jean-Luc Godard dabbled in many documentaries and short films before making his iconic masterpiece.  When is parents cut off his financial aid, they may not have left him with a lot of money, but left him with big ideas.  When he released Breathless in 1960, it was loved and praised for its uniqueness and innovation; never before had a director used the jump cut so abundantly. He used back-to-basics filmmaking and chose to abandon sets in favor of real locations. He rarely used anything but natural lighting and handheld cameras and intentionally breaks the spell of cinema.

 

"Whether or not he’s your favourite director and regardless if he is the first you think of when auteur is mentioned, what cannot be denied is Godard’s fearless and kinetic filmmaking that changed the face of French cinema. ""

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