A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
Michel Poiccard, an irresponsible sociopath and small-time thief, steals a car and impulsively murders the motorcycle policeman who pursues him. Now wanted by the authorities, he renews his relationship with Patricia Franchini, a hip American girl studying journalism at the Sorbonne, whom he had met in Nice a few weeks earlier. Before leaving Paris, he plans to collect a debt from an underworld acquaintance and expects her to accompany him on his planned getaway to Italy. Even with his face in the local papers and media, Poiccard seems oblivious to the dragnet that is slowly closing around him as he recklessly pursues his love of American movies and libidinous interest in the beautiful American. Written by
"It's silly, but I love you. I wanted to see you, to see if I'd want to see you."
I finally did it. I finished watching À bout de souffle. I kept putting it off because I usually have problem when everybody tells me that such and such film is the epitome of its era or it breaks all the rules, starts the revolution, and reinvents the cinema. That's why, probably, I cannot like Citizen Kane - try to watch the arguably best film ever made - you will be under a lot of pressure.
Well, À bout de souffle does not put you under the pressure, it takes you for a ride, and you follow for 90 minutes its incredibly young characters, common crook (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and his American free-spirited girlfriend (Jean Seberg) on their journey on the streets of 1960-th Paris along with Raoul Coutard's legendary camera. I am not going to tell here how great the camera work was, how fantastic the music score and the views of Paris were - the fans of the film know that already. They also know about the beginning of French New Wave, and how it influenced the future cinema. I just want to say that the movie was made over forty years ago - the smoking was cool back then, and Belmondo made smoking look very sexy. Belmondo fascinates me in this film. I've seen him in a lot of later movies - he's always been good (I recommend Le Magnifique, 1973 and Le Professionnel,1981 ) - but in À bout de souffle he is not just good - he is embodiment of cool, his face changes its expression every moment, you can not take your eyes off him. Is it me or he does remind the very young Mick Jagger - not commonly handsome but irresistible and sexy? He and young (she was 21 at the time) Jean Seaborg made one of the best screen couples ever. My favorite scenes:
Michel drives the stolen car in the beginning of the film, and he starts to talk to us, the audience. The day is nice, the sun is shining, and the life is beautiful...
Michel and Patricia drive in the convertible. The wind plays with her short hair. We only see the back of her head and her neck. Michel tells her that he loves the girl with a beautiful neck, wrists, knees, but she is a chicken...
Patricia comes to the hotel to find Michel in her bed. They start talking about nothing and about very serious things. They smoke, she tries to find a good place for her new poster, and he wants to sleep with her. In the end of the scene, his face, he looks at her - there is love in that look...
There is more - I am sure everyone who saw it has his/her favorite scenes.
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