Think of the world 50 years from now. What films do you think will still be talked about? What films do you think will still be considered one of the greatest articles of cinema ever put to celluloid? That is exactly the case with the now 50 year old film, Jean-Luc Godard’s masterpiece (and my personal favorite film ever made) Breathless.
I got a chance to see this film sophomore year of high school, just as I was truly getting versed in the world of cinema, and everything that surrounded it. However, nothing could have prepared me for what exactly I was in for.
There are moments in a person’s life where their life truly changes. The first time you listen to the Beatles, the first time you go to a movie, your first kiss, your first true love. These moments irreversibly change a person at his or her core, for the rest of their lives. The first time laying eyes on this film may very well be one of those moments for me. I went in as a fan of cinema, a person looking to get deeper into the world of film. However, what I was walking out of my bedroom to get a snack, was purely different.
The way the film looked, with it’s stunning black and white cinematography, shook me to my very core. The realistic way in which the film felt, and yet the kinetic style which Godard patented inspired me to make countless pretentious and often horrible rip offs, and walked my hand in hand to finding my own style. The charismatic lead performance from Jean Paul Belmondo made me ask an older buddy of mine to buy me a pack of cigarettes so I could be just as cool and bad ass as his character, which seemed to ooze French charisma that would make Humphrey Bogart stand up and applaud. It made me into a cinephile. It made me into who I am. It made me Josh Brunsting.
From there, I went head first into cinema. Godard’s canon became music to my ears, ranging from Contempt, to A Woman Is A Woman. Film noir became my go to genre. I began writing my thoughts on film just a little while after, and now, five years after that cold winter night, I have not only become a true student of film, but it even changed what I want to do with my life.
Prior to seeing the film, I had thought I wanted to become a lawyer. A politician. Even a dinosaur (when I was two years old I mind you). However, what that film made me do was not only grab my grandfathers Super 8mm camera and go out to shoot the worst films anyone could possibly make, but it got me experience. It got me to actually make films, which I still try to do to this day. It also made me into a journalist. I wrote my thoughts on Breathless, and bean posting my thoughts online after that. Then, I went to college, and became a journalism major, when I originally went in as a political science major. The film changed me forever. It changed my life.
The cliché would be to say that without this film, I wouldn’t be here. However, without this film, none of us would be. The film is now in its 50th year of existence, and it’s still just as influential, and still just as powerful. With its upcoming rerelease to theaters, I can’t help but hope that the next 50 years will be just as kind to this film as the last 50 have. I know it’s one that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my days.