À bout de souffle by Ramona Fotiade

By Ramona Fotiade

One of the main charismatic function movies of the hot Wave, À Bout de souffle (1960) has retained its attraction not just because the emphatic assertion of a generational holiday with culture, but additionally as Godard's earliest rendition of a suite of thematic and stylistic motifs that might develop into his trademark. À Bout de souffle is now a cult movie, propelled partially through the memorable coupling of its prime actors, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, whose tale on monitor appeared to painting the afflicted love affair among French cinema and Hollywood.

In this unique consultant to the movie, Ramona Fotiade analyses extensive its construction and reception, in addition to its mise-en-scène and enhancing. She situates À Bout de souffle when it comes to Godard's filmography and important writings as much as 1960, targeting a story and visible discourse that's now pointed out with a particular strand in postmodern French cinema. She additionally explores the impression of Godard's early counter-narrative and visible innovations at the autonomous American filmmakers and the French Cinéma du glance in the course of the Eighties and 1990s.

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Three years after completing À bout de souffle, Godard curiously remarked on the lack of a unifying theme in his first feature: À bout de souffle is a story, not a theme. A theme is something simple and vast which can be summed up in twenty seconds: vengeance, pleasure. A story takes twenty minutes to sum up. Le Petit Soldat has a theme: a young man is mixed up, realizes this, and tries to find clarity. In Une femme est une femme, a girl wants a baby right away. In À bout de souffle I was looking for the theme right through the shooting, and finally became interested in Belmondo.

I was very vehement about it. 28 Besides a cameo appearance (in celebrated Hitchcock-style) as the passer-by who denounces Poiccard to the police, Godard also added a number of implicit references to his immediate entourage and to his favourite directors and films at the time. The protagonist is christened Michel – originally the name of the InterAmericana agent in Truffaut’s script, whom Godard chose to call Tolmatchoff, in memory of a long-time Swiss friend and impassioned cinéphile. The famous novelist that Patricia interviews at Orly bears the name of a young Romanian émigré whom Godard met at the Sorbonne-based Institute of Cinematography in 1949 (Jean Parvulesco).

The cut to an extreme close-up shot panning down from Michel’s hat to his Jump cut to Michel’s forearm, wrist and hand Jump cut to extreme close-up of the gun’s chamber panning along the barrel 56 à b ou t de souffle elbow has more than once confounded the spectator and the occasional critic32 into believing that Michel was the one issuing the verbal threat. This amazing panning shot in extreme close-up is further fragmented by the insertion of two jump cuts: the first takes us from Michel’s elbow to a pan along his forearm, wrist and hand as he pulls back the hammer; the second cuts to an even bigger extreme close-up of the gun’s chamber, panning along its barrel.

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