So much has been written on Jean-Luc Godard’s À bout de souffle that all I can do is champion its life and its vivacity, and urge you to catch this on its 50th anniversary re-release in cinemas and on the restored DVD.
The restored print was overseen by the film’s cinematographer Raoul Coutard and Studio Canal’s Beatrice Valbi and looks tremendous; if this is your first time of seeing this film you are in for a treat.
I’m loathe to describe the plot for you, it will sound trite and much of the attraction and enjoyment of the film comes from discovering it, as it retains its freshness fifty years on. Godard’s playfulness is tangible in every frame, there is an effortless air of laconic charm in the presence of Jean-Paul Belmondo and elfin Jean Seberg sparkles on screen.
Few films can act as a spyglass on a time so riddled now with parody, and yet with Godard’s film there is no pretense, just a willingness to explore two characters orbiting each other with the power and pressures of egotism and naiveté. The dialogue is suffused with an erotic charge and what struck me most watching it again is the potential held within the film – not just in its young characters but in the language of cinema.
There is a freedom and a breaking away from tradition in Godard’s film that is contagious and I know I’ll be revisiting this film many more times in the future. In the current clime of by-the-numbers reheatings of old properties it is humbling to know that the influence of Godard’s film survives and flourishes today in new independent cinema.
Enjoy and celebrate this restoration, in fifty years time there will be another generation doing the same thing, and this film will have just as much relevance and spark as it does today.
Craig put up the trailer for this restored version on the site recently, click here to enjoy.