Jean Luc Goddard







        A Bout de Souffle
        D R A M A

        A Bout de Souffle. Drama. 1959. France. Black and white. 85 minutes. PG.

        This is the joy of a film. A classic. As great a film as has ever been made. Its influence on so many things that came after on the big screen cannot be over-estimated.

        Not alot of people know this (or maybe they do) but the film was inspired by Gun Crazy, Joseph H Lewis's 1949 B-movie film Noir. Now that is an unsung masterpiece! Francis Truffaut and Claude Chabrol assisted in the making of a film everyone now recognises as fundamental to the French new wave. In my eyes, it is also the greatest homage that has ever been made to that hardened hero Humphrey Bogart.

        The director used every trick at his disposal and associated with the nouvelle vague: location shooting, direct sound, hand-held footage, jump cuts, in-jokes and visual tributes to master film-makers...it is all here, wrapped in the packaging of the film. Watching it is like unwrappng a present every time you catch it.

        Oh, and don't forget the cinematographer Raoul Coutard who's contribution is vital.

        Of course hold holding everything together like glue is the performance of Jean-Paul Belmondo. He is perfect as a shambolic petty thief whose brief dalliance with the American newspaper seller Jean Seberg triggers his demise.

        In French with English subtitles

        5 stars out of 5.

        © Paul Page, Lenin, 2013

        Available: amazon.com | amazon.co.uk

        Best Film Review Book: Radio Times Guide to Films 2013

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