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Film Club: Breathless

Tuesday 22 May 2012, 14:29

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

Today is the first of my introductions in the new Kermode Uncut Film Club.

The film is Breathless from 1983 - get yourself a copy of the movie, watch the intro and let me know what you think.

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    Comment number 1.

    Breathless is a very rare thing; an American remake of a French film that is truly translated, as opposed to transliterated. Interestingly, Gere was the star of the only other one I can think of at the moment too (Sommersby).

    These films have taken the basic premise and structure of the original and re-created them in a way that is accurate within the sphere of the cultural context of the US. The characters retain their humanity because of this. Gere is not Belmondo and there is no crass attempt for him to be. He is a true translation, taking into account location, period, language, economics, politics etc.
    In short, this film demonstrates how a film can be successfully revised for an audience far removed from the one that would have been expected to watch the original.

    I hope that makes sense?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I watched both A Bout de Souffle and Breathless last year, after Dr K mentioned them a number of times. While I would say A Bout de Souffle is a more important film, and probably a better film, there's no doubt that Breathless is a lot more fun!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I'm not a massive Jean Luc-Godard fan. I tried to watch Film Socialisme and found it to be so bad it was frightening. I even saw on the Metacritic Film Website that Film Socialisme appeared on Top Ten Lists for 2011 which made even more scared. I cannot explain why I enjoyed Breathless but I found it to be fascinating with its' themes of Pop Culture.

    If I did have one last request Mark it would be this. Could you introduce a more mainstream one time and a less mainstream film the next. Like taking in turns. So let's say next time: American Beauty and the blogpost after that: Tales from the Crypt

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Thanks Mark! I never really had any interest in seeing this film before but you most certainly got my attention. I especially like how you pointed out the way its post-modern style was almost too ahead of its time. I personally already see a lot of similarities to contemporary films like True Romance, with the protagonists love for comic books and obsession with the rockabilly era. It's on Netflix Instant so I'll be checking it out tonight and will post my comments later or tomorrow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I haven't seen the french original so couldn't compare both movies but I don't think I am missing too much... I love Breathless, ever since they used to show it on telly in the mid 90s... Richard Gere is ott and fairly ridiculous, but so is the whole film and that for me is the charm.

    I first saw this film when i was about 13 and seeing Gere riding along in a stolen car with an amazing sunset tossing all the cassettes he doesn't like out of the window was quite frankly the epitome of cool.


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