This black and white, French, subtitled film is certainly not a film I would usually pick to watch. With its low budgets and hand held cameras I would have never of thought Breathless would have became such a success.
Michel and Patricia are the 2 main actors. Michel has killed a policeman and is now on the run. He’s come to France to find his American friend Patricia – who has a respectable job as a journalist and tries his luck in asking her to go to Italy with him. However, once Patricia finds out about his antics through a newspaper article, she hands him into the police.
I think something a lot of reviews I’ve read have overlooked, but a subject that became quite apparent too me is how Michel treated Patricia. I think he was quite disrespectful towards women calling them ‘scumbags’ and ‘dogs’. The 1960’s were the years of a revolutionary change where women were starting to be looked at in equality to men. They were able to stand up for themselves and I think this really reflected in the film when she slaps him and doesn’t give in to his sex demands. Michel’s attitude towards people in general was also quite unacceptable really, as he spent most of the film robbing people of their money, stealing cars and then going to sell them afterwards to make money. So somehow or another money was always on the mind for this bloke.
The quality of the acting in my opinion was very poor, it was very clumsy and because of this, it came across as a bit humorous. They over reacted a lot of things, one of the examples being the exaggerated death of Michel at the end. Scenes that we would usually take quite seriously in up to date films, me and most of the other people in the room found ourselves giggling at.
I think the overall look of the film, being in black and white, as we don’t very often see new films like this; it gave it a very classy look and feel and made France look very beautiful. Patricia was a gorgeous young woman and represented young females in a positive way with her strong character.
At the end of the day, Jean-Luc Godard probably didn’t think this film would be a great success and who would blame him when there was such a low budget and not very convincing actors…But it did become a hit and it made me laugh! So Well Done!