Jean-Luc Godard

Breathless

Breathless

There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinéma. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, Breathless helped launch the French New Wave and ensured that cinema would never be the same.

Film Info

  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • France
  • 1960
  • 90 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • French
  • Spine #408

Special Features

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director of photography Raoul Coutard, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Archival interviews with director Jean-Luc Godard and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, and Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Interviews from 2007 with Coutard, assistant director Pierre Rissient, and filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker
  • Two video essays: filmmaker Mark Rappaport’s Jean Seberg and critic Jonathan Rosenbaum’s “Breathless” as Criticism
  • Chambre 12, Hôtel de Suède, an eighty-minute 1993 documentary about the making of Breathless
  • Charlotte et son Jules, a 1959 short by Godard featuring Belmondo
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by scholar Dudley Andrew, writings by Godard, François Truffaut’s original treatment, and Godard’s scenario

    New cover by Rodrigo Corral

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director of photography Raoul Coutard, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Archival interviews with director Jean-Luc Godard and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, and Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Interviews from 2007 with Coutard, assistant director Pierre Rissient, and filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker
  • Two video essays: filmmaker Mark Rappaport’s Jean Seberg and critic Jonathan Rosenbaum’s “Breathless” as Criticism
  • Chambre 12, Hôtel de Suède, an eighty-minute 1993 documentary about the making of Breathless
  • Charlotte et son Jules, a 1959 short by Godard featuring Belmondo
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by scholar Dudley Andrew, writings by Godard, François Truffaut’s original treatment, and Godard’s scenario

    New cover by Rodrigo Corral
Breathless
Cast
Jean Seberg
Patricia Franchini
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Michel Poiccard
Daniel Boulanger
Inspector Vital
Henri-Jacques Huet
Antonio Berruti
Roger Hanin
Carl Zumbach
Van Doude
Van Doude
Liliane David
Liliane
Michel Fabre
Other inspector
Jean-Pierre Melville
Parvulesco
Claude Mansard
Used car dealer
Jean-Luc Godard
Informer
Richard Balducci
Tolmachoff
Credits
Director
Jean-Luc Godard
Producer
Georges de Beauregard
Screenplay
Jean-Luc Godard
Based on an original treatment by
François Truffaut
Cinematography
Raoul Coutard
Camera assistant
Claude Beausoleil
Assistant director
Pierre Rissient
Script supervisor
Suzon Faye
Makeup
Phuong Mattret
Music
Martial Solal
Sound
Jacques Maumont
Editing
Cécile Decugis
Assistant editor
Lila Herman
Technical adviser
Claude Chabrol

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Jean-Paul Belmondo

Actor

Jean-Paul Belmondo
Jean-Paul Belmondo

When you’re talking about French New Wave cool, it’s Jean-Paul Belmondo who first comes to mind. There are other male icons of the era—Alain Delon, Jean-Pierre Léaud—but with his casual sexiness, cigarette-smoking swagger, and boxer’s mug that only a mother (or actually, as it turns out, everyone) could love, Belmondo stands alone. The son of a famous sculptor, he worked successfully as a comic stage actor for a few years before Jean-Luc Godard cast him in his 1958 short Charlotte et son Jules; during the production, Godard promised the young actor the lead role in his first film. In 1960, Breathless hit: its impact was, of course, seismic, and so was the force of the actor’s breakthrough. In Michel Poiccard, Belmondo created a rapscallion antihero for the ages, couched by Jean-Luc Godard in both romanticism and reality, as though a demigod in a documentary. Superstardom followed fast on the film’s heels. In the early sixties, Belmondo would alternate between New Wave art films (working with Godard again in A Woman Is a Woman and Pierrot le fou) and gangster pictures that showed off his effortless tough-guy bravado (Classe tous risques, Le doulos). Soon enough, he was one of France’s most bankable stars, embarking on a career making comedies and action movies that has already spanned a half century and is still going on.