Visual Analysis of Breathless (Godard)

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BREATHLESS by Jean-Luc Godard Aesthetics and Visual Analysis Paolo Favero Tim Somers s0111755 Film Studies & Visual Culture BREATHLESS by Jean-Luc Godard A visual analysis by Tim Somers Aesthetics and Visual Analysis Fall term 2012 "Ne va pas montrer tous les côtés des choses, garde-toi une marge d 'indéfini." Jean-Luc GODARD Introduction It isn 't hard to see why Breathless (original title: À Bout de Souffle) manages to distinguish itself from general film, being now or at the time it came out. Despite being the first film by influential French director Jean-Luc Godard, its visual style and unconventional approach has led to the film being labeled as historically significant and brought international acclaim to the French New Wave…show more content…
Many of the exterior long takes contribute to the documentary feel the film portrays, displaying Paris in an exceptional way. Godard always believed being radically original was impossible but he did believe in authenticity. This is reflected in the story of the film. The hero of the film - Michel Poiccard, portrayed by Belmondo - also struggles to be original and the notion of being free. In his search for freedom, he Breathless 3 tries to resemble himself to the (film) persona of Humphrey Bogart. A very American theme, because Hollywood cinema is accepted and even embraced by the French New Wave. Godard modeled this film with the genre that most problematized the notion of freedom, the film noir. In the storyline, Michel Poiccard is a small criminal. Godard doesn’t really introduce him, we just meet up with him Marseille. He is holding a newspaper and when he lowers it the audience gets a first look at him. An intimate shot of a man, smoking a cigarette and swiping his lips. His eyes look for contact to the right of the screen. They find a match with a girl who makes gestures to him. Godard fools us by using the exact same frame of a medium close up. With the eye-line-matching he creates a feeling of proximity between Michel and the girl. This turns out differently: a wider shot of her and the surrounded area proves otherwise. She signals him to an unguarded car, he hotwires it and

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