“Become immortal and then die …»Posterity has seized on the unstoppable reply of Jean-Pierre Melville, the writer Parvulesco in Breathless. Because the film by Jean-Luc Godard, which some consider to be the most emblematic of the New Wave, has since become immortal. A restored, high-definition 4K version will hit theaters on October 28 to mark the 60th anniversary of the film’s release.
Breathless, that Claude Chabrol saw as the most radical cinematographic work of the movement he had initiated with François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, is undoubtedly innovative. Pierre Rissient, the first assistant director on the set, explains this revolutionary way, at the time, of staging the unfolding of the story. “There was no scenario in the classic sense of the word but a“sequencer ” of three pages from which we could design a budget and a work plan ”, he recalls.
A functional department of actors
The freer direction of the actors and the almost spontaneous writing of the script are also the hallmarks ofBreathless. “There were no dialogues yet, says Pierre Rissient. On the set Godard came in the morning with dialogues, written day by day. Jean-Luc, Jean Seberg and Belmondo would sit at the local cafe to read and rehearse the dialogue, and in general very few changes were made during filming. There was also very little acting direction from Godard. His direction of actors remained very functional, without psychological indications, which frustrated Jean Seberg a little, while Belmondo was very comfortable. “
Winner of the 1960 Jean-Vigo Prize, the film was an immediate success. The irresistible charm because Jean Seberg’s unprepared, combined with the virile relaxation of the one who will soon be affectionately nicknamed Bébel, marks the history of the seventh art in the early 1960s. François Truffaut will not hesitate to write: “ a masterpiece that changed the face of cinema. ”
The famous scene ofBreathless in which Jean-Pierre Melville alias Parvulesco says to Jean Seberg alias Patricia Franchini: “Become immortal and then die “
Breathless by Jean-Luc Godard, in 1960, with Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Jean-Pierre Melville, Roger Hanin …