Movie Project #1: Breathless [1960, Godard]

Breathless [1960, Godard]

Breathless [1960]
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Genre: Crime/Drama/Romance
Language: French/English
Country: France

Informers inform, burglars burgle, murderers murder, lovers love.

For the first selection in my “50 Movies” project, I opted for Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 French New Wave classic, Breathless. I had never seen a Godard film despite hearing a lot of great things about his work. Breathless is his first full-length feature.

The movie is about a young thief named Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a guy who acts tougher than he is and aspires to be as cool as his idol, Humphrey Bogart. After stealing a car and then murdering a policeman out in the country, Michel goes on the run and tries to get his American on-and-off girlfriend Patricia (Jean Seberg) to flee with him to Rome. He doesn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry, however, since he finds time to charm Patricia and lounge around in her apartment. The cops are onto him, but he is more interested in getting laid than anything else. It’s pretty amazing that he is so lackadaisical about, you know, being on the run from the police, but he acts as if there isn’t a care in the world.

Really, not a lot happens in Breathless. This is a film that relies heavily on its dialogue — of which is immensely quotable — and its revolutionary filmmaking techniques. Godard’s usage of jump cuts in this movie is very well documented, and it really works wonders here. These jump cuts keep the film moving at a brisk pace, and fit in effortlessly with the stylish flair from the era. While perhaps not as jarring today, this was a relatively new technique at the time and made some serious waves in the filmmaking world. I also loved how Godard shot the movie on the streets of Paris with many of its citizens unknowingly being used as extras. There are some truly stunning views of the city, and it is a great snapshot of its beauty during that time.

Breathless [1960, Godard]

I was impressed with both Belmondo and Seberg’s performances. Belmondo’s character, Michel, is initially grating since he generally acts like a douche bag with his nonstop attempts to get laid. As the movie progresses, I couldn’t help but to ease up on my view of him, however, and he became, dare I say, likeable by the time the end rolled around. That is a testament to Belmondo’s efforts more than anything. Seberg, on the other hand, is stunning. Her character, Patricia, is quick-witted and hard to read, and she has a mysterious aura surrounding her. She seems to be a strong woman, an American living in Paris who has learned the French language (albeit while still struggling with some slang terms). Her relationship with Michel is intriguing, enough so that a 25-minute-long sequence with the two of them just sitting alone in her apartment is never boring.

While some may dismiss Breathless for its meandering plot, this is still a film classic that is accessible for even non-movie buffs. As one of the most influential movies ever made, it is still remarkable that it feels just as “fresh” today as it did back then. I don’t believe I have any other Godard films on my list, which is a shame because now I would like to dig more into his filmography.


Digger HD [PS3, 2009]

Digger HD [PS3, 2009]

Digger HD
System: Playstation 3
Developer: Creat Studios
Release Date: October 1, 2009

Digger HD is a modernized remake of the 1983 computer game Digger. The gameplay is basically a mashup of Dig Dug and Pac-Man. You control a tiny bulldozer underground with your job being to either collect all of the gems or kill all of the monsters. It’s a simple enough premise, but it can get a bit tricky trying to maneuver around while fighting off these enemies. In the main arcade mode, you are only given two lives to last as long as possible. When you run out of them, your score resets to zero but thankfully you can continue with the last level you left off with. I like that the game gives this option since it allows gamers to choose for themselves how easy or difficult they want their experience to be, without outright having to change the difficulty levels.

Along with the 60-level arcade mode, Digger HD is bundled with a survival mode where you are tested to see how long you can last with just one life, and it includes the original classic game labeled as “vintage.” Both the arcade and survival modes can be played co-op as well, which offers a fair amount of replay value. The game keeps track of high scores, and includes an online leaderboard.

While hardly anything spectacular, Digger HD is good for what it is. The new graphics look sharp and throw a fresh coat of paint on the original. I even liked the new soundtrack, which has a couple of quirky songs. What holds the game back is its repetition and occasionally floaty controls. It really bothered me when I would try to turn a corner and shoot a monster, only for him to devour me before a shot could get off. Still, Digger HD has a solid gameplay formula that can be fun to play in spurts. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you could do worse than give this classic a go.