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Is Godard's Breathless overrated?


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#1 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 01:04 AM

I watched Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless today having not seen it in a long time, and it struck my that this film was not that well made. Maybe I'm just getting fed up the the horrendous over use of verite' style camera work and editing tricks in modern cinema or the fact that I have seen other films that were contemporary to Breathless that used these elements in a far more effective way, (The Cranes are Flying comes to mind off the top of my head) but although a decent film, I tend to think it is somewhat overrated. I am also aware of it's historical context but many films of that period were experimenting with verite' camera movement and experimental editing.

I also think Citizen Kane is another overrated film. Many people consider it the greatest film ever made. I, quite frankly, don't see it and never have. I found the story actually kinda boring, the interview section kinda a cop out. I again realize there were many innovations incorporated into the film but I don't believe it should be ranked as the greatest film ever made maybe not even in the top ten. Opinions? B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 15 July 2007 - 01:06 AM.

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#2 Christian Appelt

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 07:14 AM

I don't think A BOUT DE SOUFFLE (Breathless) is overrated. Godard did something new and surprising back then, just read some vintage reviews and discussions when it came out. It's the same with CITIZEN KANE, Welles did a number of quite innovative things with sound (remember, he came from radio shows) and editing.

In a way, films like these became a blueprint for the more complex ways of storytelling and visual narrative that we are used to nowadays. KANE is a 67 year old movie, A BOUT DE SOUFFLE approaches the 50 year mark. You cannot expect to find them as revolutionary as they seemed back then. But both are damn good films worth seeing again, not only for their stylistic approach.

Edited by Christian Appelt, 15 July 2007 - 07:15 AM.

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#3 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 12:12 PM

Godard is overrated, the film isn't!

You may have issues with the low production values if you haven't seen it in a while, but you can't deny that the film is energetic!

Try some other French New Wave Gems:

'The 400 Blows' (one of my top 10 films all time)
'Cleo from 5 till 7'
'Les Bonnes Femmes'
The Soft Skin
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#4 Josh Brokenbourgh

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 02:38 PM

Godard is overrated, the film isn't!

You may have issues with the low production values if you haven't seen it in a while, but you can't deny that the film is energetic!

Try some other French New Wave Gems:

'The 400 Blows' (one of my top 10 films all time)
'Cleo from 5 till 7'
'Les Bonnes Femmes'
The Soft Skin


400 Blows is a great film. The acting/directing is established in that you can sense a certain comfort level from the talent. The kids are great.

Breathless leveled up early innovation in editing- the kind of post that brings charm to the film. It's not my favorite film, but I understand it's purpose. It reveals that the best film making is done with a passion for film, and vision.
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#5 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 09:20 PM

Citizen Kane is in addition to its technical aspects known to be one of the most controversial films to date. When it came out, William Randolph Hearst was trying to pay MGM to burn the negatives because of the blatant ways Kane depicted him in the film. It's technically advanced, controversial, powerful, and moving, and that is why its known to be one of the greatest films ever made.
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#6 Gus Sacks

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 12:29 AM

Well, it's just silly to compare anything to THE CRANES ARE FLYING. :P

One of the best films ever photographed, without a doubt.
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#7 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 01:53 PM

When it came out, William Randolph Hearst was trying to pay MGM to burn the negatives because of the blatant ways Kane depicted him in the film.


Did MGM take the money without telling Hearst it was an RKO movie?
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#8 Bryan Darling

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 02:49 PM

As with any film from the past, you can't look at it with eyes of today. It's important to look at these things in perspective. You have to consider the social, cultural, political, technological, and artistic conditions at the times these films were created. That's not to say that because a film has been said to be great, you will or "have to" find it great as well. In the end it's a matter of personal taste and aesthetic. I find a lot of people, especially students, say a lot of films are great yet they really don't get it personally. They are just saying what their professors and books have told them and have no real understanding of why the film is great- even though they can list those reasons.

That said, there are usually reasons why people say a film is great. It is in analyzing those reasons and working to understand them that you can then make an educated judgment as to whether you feel that film is great, good, ok, or bad. But to pass judgment on any work without really studying and making assessments within perspective of the past is short-changing the work and yourself.
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