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A Bout De Souffle

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    A Bout De Souffle

    It may be stylish, Godard may be considered a great innovator by virtue of his propensity for jump shots and semi-improvised dialogue and Jean Paul Belmondo is a stylish lead.

    But, Christ, it's dull.

    Despite what the director may have thought you still need a bit more than "a gun and a girl" to create a compelling narrative. No amount of technical trickery can cover for the lack of story, and this movie barely has one worth mentioning. And the dialogue ("I don't know if I'm unhappy because I'm not free, or not free because I'm unhappy", Jean Seberg opines without a trace of irony) can be excrutiating.

    The French New Wave is bunk, that's what I say.

    #2
    A Bout De Souffle

    You obviously had a different reaction to Jean Seberg than I did (particluarly when I first saw this at 14 or so).

    Your criticisms of the plot and dialogue are of course valid, but man, it's Jean Seberg.

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      #3
      A Bout De Souffle

      See, now when it came to European cinema I was always more of an Anita Ekberg man.

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        #4
        A Bout De Souffle

        That explains it, then.

        If neither Belmondo or Seberg "click" with you, there's not much to the film other than some tour de force technique.

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          #5
          A Bout De Souffle

          I'm a big Godard fan, but yeah, I was underwhelmed by Breathless. Contempt is my choice for greatest film of all time, and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her and Pierrot Le Fou are also among my favorite movies.

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            #6
            A Bout De Souffle

            Can't remember if I've bored you lot with it before (I certainly bore my students with it every year) but my line on Godard is that he was so incredibly quick at churning out films in the 60s, so responsive to cultural trends, had his finger so firmly on the pulse of youth culture etc that you can't expect coherence and rounded products.

            To put it even more crudely, his 'greatest hits' of the 60s would feature loads of stunning sequences, shots, moments but none of his 60s films is ultimately 'successful' in and of itself.

            This is why I fell in love with Godard as a student: we were shown BFI showreels of the best clips from Bande a part, Pierrot, etc and I thought 'Wow! If his films are all like this he's the greatest'

            Sadly they aren't.

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              #7
              A Bout De Souffle

              Well I like it. Although I shouldn't have watched it when I was trying to give up smoking.

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                #8
                A Bout De Souffle

                More or less exactly what Incandenza says. Contempt is absolutely amazing. Breathless isn't really anything like his best film, though it must have been a hurricane of fresh air when it came out. It's like evaluating The Beatles on the basis of "Love Me Do".

                Thinking about it, maybe I'm just more of a Bridget Bardot fan.

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                  #9
                  A Bout De Souffle

                  I can't believe that no one has done a (celeb) cooking show under the name 'About The Souffle'.

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                    #10
                    I am pleased to announce I shall be going to see Godard's new film, The image Book, in a few days time.

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                      #11
                      I'm always confusing Bout de Souffle with Boule de Suif, fool that I am.

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                        #12
                        I still enjoy rewatching earlier Godard & the other New Wave films for the style and innovation of the films, and look back fondly on the double bill features they used to have at places like the Everyman, Hampstead and Electric Cinema, Portabello Rd (London) when I was in my late teens and happily wasting a weekend afternoon. But I was more of an Anna Karina fanboy, especially those gazes straight to camera (artfully head scissors optional).

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                          #13
                          I didn't get to see Image Book as it was showing when I was teaching. I feel a bit robbed, as I doubt there will be many more chances to see new Godard films. Though I have been assuming that since Forever Mozart, which was more than 20 years ago ...

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