Breathless

This was certainly my favorite film I’ve viewed this whole semester. I loved everything about it. Its funny, in the beginning of the semester I thought black and white films were boring. Like M. I hated that black and white. But up until now, I’d actually forgotten that this movie was black and white. Well, the greyscale was broader in this film, but still – it wasn’t vibrant color. And I didn’t mind one bit.

Anyway, I absolutely loved the lead actors in this film. Both the lead actor and lead actress are named Jean, and the director is named Jean too, haha. Guess it’s  a French thing (even though the character Patricia is supposed to be American). The unconventional relationship between Patricia and Michel was simply adorable. The pairing of that concept and the experimental techniques used in the film, such as jump cutting, really gained my interest. I’m sure I’ve seen recent films that used jump cutting before but this film made it really significant.

Good example of jump cutting

Another aspect of the film I enjoyed was Michel’s role as a criminal on the run. What amused me was that he didn’t exactly try too hard to keep a low profile while on the run. He committed more crimes, such as grand theft auto, and showed his face in public places. Yet the cops still couldn’t find him until Patricia gave him up!

Michel was definitely a character to remember. The faces he made, the way he spoke to Patricia, how sly he was when committing crimes, the way he did anything he wanted and didn’t fear the consequences…all of these traits made him unforgettable. Patricia was also a rather hard to forget character, but I would say mainly because of her looks. When I first saw her on screen I was amazed by her beauty. Her cute little nose and the way she pulled off her short hair was just gorgeous. Patricia also humored me because she would say one thing and do another. She never seemed to keep her word. I couldn’t tell if it was because she wanted to please everybody, or if it was because she wasn’t sure of what she wanted . For instance, she would act like she didn’t want Michel around, then act like she was in love with him. She followed him around while he ran from the police, then ratted him out to the police, then told him what she’d done. I did not understand what was going on in her head.

I loved the scene when Patricia comes home and her key is missing, and the doorman suggests that maybe she left it in the door, and when she goes to check she finds Michel in her bed. She doesn’t freak out and tell him to leave. She says things that suggest she isn’t happy about his presence, such as saying she wants to be alone, but she doesn’t kick him out. She entertains him. He asks her what shes thinking about and she says she doesn’t know.

Michel and Patricia in Patricia’s room

If you ask me,  I don’t think there’s really too much going on in that pretty little head of hers. She strikes me as one of those girls that is pretty, but wants to be more than that. She wants to be an intellectual and be recognized as one, yet she kisses her boss which will really get her no respect. She gets everywhere in life based on her looks, whether she would like to admit it or not. You have to admit there is just something she has which makes her so appealing. This is probably why in the beginning of the movie Michel tells her he loves her and needs her to come to Rome with him. I loved this scene too because Patricia varies between speaking in French and English, and her English voice is so different, its funny.

New York Herald Tribune! Patricia’s “American” voice

Wait, I really love when Michel drops Patricia off to meet her boss and he tells her, “Go on then, I don’t want to see you again. Go to hell scumbag!” Then he proceeds to follow her and spy on her. This is when he catches her kissing her boss and gets jealous. However, although he gets jealous, he still shows up at her house the next day. Another thing about this scene, is that it follows Michel’s gaze first, then Patricia’s, then Michel’s again. It is somewhat confusing, but it’s a technique I didn’t really see in any other films we viewed in this class.

The ending of this movie was unexpected but I enjoyed it because of a few certain things. Throughout the movie, Michel does this thing where he brushes his lips with his thumb. Also, in one of my favorite scenes which I talked about earlier, (the one where Patricia finds Michel in her home when she arrives) Patricia is examining herself in the mirror and Michel tells her to make three faces. One where he is opening his mouth big, then a big smile, then a big frown. He makes Patricia repeat these faces. When he is dying in the end scene after being shot by the police because Patricia revealed his location, he is laying on the floor looking up at Patricia and he makes these faces. Then he tells her she’s a real scumbag. She asks, whats a scumbag? Then mimics Michel’s lip brushing tick. I like the way things  sort of came full circle. Another connection from the ending to the beginning of the movie is in another scene I spoke about which I enjoyed, the scene where Michel is walking with Patricia while she sells newspapers and begging her to come to Rome. In this scene, she asks why Michel is so hung up on her, she knows hes been with other women since the last time they’ve been together. He tells her although he has indeed been with other women, each time was a bummer. And she asks, whats a bummer? I’m not 100% sure on this, but I believe this whole not knowing words meanings thing is to emphasize her American-ness. Or maybe she’s just dumb.

Ending scene

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1 Comment so far

  1.    nlobello824 on December 17th, 2011

    Kaitlin, I really appreciated your take on breathless. It was extremely entertaining but I felt it lacked cinematic quality to make it a “great” movie. I respect your judgement but I do not feel it is a great film.

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