This film, a first pic by a film critic, shows the immediate influence of Yank actioners and socio-psycho thrillers but has its own personal style.

This film, a first pic by a film critic, shows the immediate influence of Yank actioners and socio-psycho thrillers but has its own personal style.

All of this adds up to a production resembling such pix as Gun Crazy, They Live by Night and Rebel without a Cause. But it has local touches in its candor, lurid lingo, frank love scenes, and general tale of a young childish hoodlum (Jean-Paul Belmondo) whose love for a boyish looking, semi-intellectual American girl (Jean Seberg) is his undoing.

Pic uses a peremptory cutting style that looks like a series of jump cuts. Characters suddenly shift around rooms, have different bits of clothing on within two shots, etc. But all this seems acceptable, for this unorthodox film [from an original screen story by Francois Truffaut] moves quickly and ruthlessly.

The young, mythomaniacal crook is forever stealing autos, but the slaying of a cop puts the law on his trail. The girl finally gives him up because she feels she does not really love him, and also she wants her independence.

There are too many epigrams and a bit too much palaver in all this. However, it is picaresque and has enough insight to keep it from being an out-and-out melodramatic quickie.

Seberg lacks emotive projection but it helps in her role of a dreamy little Yank abroad playing at life. Her boyish prettiness is real help. Belmondo is excellent as the cocky hoodlum.

A Bout de Souffle

France

Production

SNC. Director Jean-Luc Godard; Producer Georges de Beauregard; Writer Jean-Luc Godard; Camera Raoul Coutard Editor Cecile Decugis; Music Martial Solal

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1960. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Jean Seberg Jean-Paul Belmondo Henri-Jacques Huet Jean-Pierre Melville Liliane David Daniel Boulanger

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