À Bout de Souffle


Michel Poiccard’s not a regular guy. He’s French, but he wish he was American. He likes the American way of life, at least the one he sees at the movies. The big cars, the money, the cool look, the careless attitude… With his hat and sunglasses, Michel’s almost unstoppable. Basically, he’s no gangster. He goes from place to place, robbing cars, meeting people, banging girls… One day, he’s back in Paris. A friend of him owes him some cash, but he can’t get a hold of the guy. And the police is after him since he killed a cop who had stopped him on the road. Even worse than all that, Michel is actually… in love. A little American girl named Patricia caught his heart. Their relationship is weird, like Poiccard’s whole life.

And so is the film. There isn’t a real story. We just catch a slice of life of the characters. They wander around, they get together… The screenplay from François Truffaut is far from usual. We spend a lot of time with the couple, not to make the story go forward but just to get to know them. There’s a very long sequence in their bedroom that leads nowhere but is still absolutely fascinating. The dialogue is just so brilliant. Patricia and Michel talk about nothing and everything, exchanging their views on life. Jean-Luc Godard’s direction is really interesting too. His film has a cool feel of anarchy. Many scenes seem improvised. It’s all so natural. But at the same time, the visual style is original, and the loungy music is great. This is the exciting Godard of his debuts, when he was awestruck to can finally make some cinema of his own, in a way even today’s audiences are not quite ready for. The cast is very good. Jean Seberg is cute and very likable as the girlfriend, and Jean-Paul Belmondo is terrific in the lead. He’s a rebel yet a nice guy, a criminal yet a romantic. His performance in this flick is legendary. For all these reasons, I really enjoyed “A Bout de Souffle”. It’s as innovative as it is entertaining. It’s clever, hilarious, amazing… You just can’t miss this!