Mark Metcalf
MFF’10 Preview

Breathless

By - Sep 25th, 2010 02:45 am
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Fifty years ago, Jean-Luc Godard made a move called Breathless. The world of making movies and our expectations changed forever. If you have ever liked a movie made by Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino or Robert Altman, then you owe it yourself and to them to go back to the beginning and see one of the integral pieces of what started it all.

Photo Courtesy of Les Productions Georges de Beauregard

Michel (Belmondo) is a small-time car thief.  He impulsively shoots a policeman who is about to arrest him. Rather than flee Paris he tries to seduce (again, and yet again) the beautiful American girl with the Italian name played by Seberg.  He wants her to run away with him.  That’s the story, but the story isn’t important.

What plays right off the screen, into your lap, up the aisle and out the door is Paris, youth, sex and romance, the energy of fear and throwing it all away, and doing it all with style, what we call ‘cool.’  It is a love of life that I want to experience again and it’s all about taking it for a ride.

Half the movies at this year’s festival have Breathless in their DNA.  All the actors owe something to Jean Paul Belmondo in the same way that Belmondo’s character owes everything to Humphrey Bogart.  And Jean Seberg manages to merge innocence and a sophisticated sexuality in a way that American filmmakers and actresses are still trying to replicate, whether they realize it or not.

The movie was made in 1960 and already Godard was able to capture the freedom, the energy and the desire for abandon that blossomed during the rest of that decade.

A newly minted version of  the film is playing as a featured screening during the Milwaukee Film Festival. It plays tonight (Sept. 25) and Wednesday the 29th at the Oriental Theatre and on Monday, Sept. 27 at the Marcus North Shore Cinema. For tickets and info, click here.

Mark Metcalf is a writer, professional actor and resident of Milwaukee. He hosts TCD’s weekly podcast “Backstage with Mark Metcalf” and occasionally writes the film blog “Moving Pictures.” Mark is also Milwaukee Film’s Director of Collaborative Cinema, giving area students hands-on experience with film making.

Categories: Movies

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