408 Breathless

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Feego
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
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Re: Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)

#251 Post by Feego » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:15 pm

I was familiar with the remake from late-night cable airings in the 90s. My interest in classic film began when I was about 13, and I think Entertainment Weekly published their special Top 100 issue when I was 16 (around 2000 or so). I'll always treasure that list as it pointed me in the direction of The Seventh Seal, Jules and Jim, The Conformist, Celine and Julie Go Boating, and many others that my teen self never heard of. One of the films included was Godard's Breathless, and I was struck because I didn't realize that sleazy Richard Gere movie was a remake of a French film. Next time it aired on TCM, I watched it and was blown away. It was inventive and exciting in a way that was completely new to me (my acquaintance with non-Hollywood movies was still pretty scanty at the time). While I was dipping my toes into foreign film territory, it would still be some years before I began taking note of directors or particular film movements, like the French New Wave. Interestingly, I've been a little cool on Godard ever since, with nothing by him quite captivating me like this first one, though Prenom Carmen comes close.

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bottled spider
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Re: Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)

#252 Post by bottled spider » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:14 pm

I was a bit young for it the first time I saw Breathless -- twelve or thirteen. My dad was playing it on a small reel-to-reel film projector borrowed from the university library. I can remember being dismayed or at least bemused that the death of the policeman was treated so inconsequentially. For whatever reason, the image I retained from that early viewing was of Belmondo fleeing on foot across the fields at dusk.

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Foam
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Re: Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)

#253 Post by Foam » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:50 pm

I believe I checked it out from the university library either my freshman or sophomore year at a time when I was dutifully making my way through some "greatest films" list. My initial response was bafflement at its reputation; I remember looking online for reasons it was supposed to be great and remaining unconvinced. At the time I preferred the accessible warmth of The 400 Blows, which I had already seen. I remember when I had to screen it again for a junior year course in International Film that I remained similarly incredulous about its quality if not importance. For a long time my relative indifference to both Godard and Hitchcock made me wonder if I was some kind of imposter cinephile. It wasn't until I saw Vivre sa vie and later Une femme mariee that I began to appreciate Godard for anything more than his impact upon other filmmakers I preferred. I think I now enjoy my memories of Breathless more than I ever enjoyed an actual viewing experience, which probably means it's time to give it a rewatch!

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domino harvey
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Re: 408 Breathless

#254 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:01 am

Image
Image

From Jean Collet's diary tracking the Cine-club screenings he hosted in 1965, as translated via Cahiers du cinema in English. No. 3, 1966

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BillyLiar
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Re: 408 Breathless

#255 Post by BillyLiar » Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:12 pm

Breathless is being presented at Il Cinema Ritrovato in a fortnight, in the 'Recovered and restored 2020' section.
Other than the fact that the copy is from Studiocanal, does anyone have any further information about this?
https://festival.ilcinemaritrovato.it/e ... e-souffle/

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TheKieslowskiHaze
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Re: 408 Breathless

#256 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:42 pm

BillyLiar wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:12 pm
Breathless is being presented at Il Cinema Ritrovato in a fortnight, in the 'Recovered and restored 2020' section.
Other than the fact that the copy is from Studiocanal, does anyone have any further information about this?
https://festival.ilcinemaritrovato.it/e ... e-souffle/
I saw today that StudioCanal announced a new 4K blu-ray.

Part of me thinks: Does this movie really need a 4K restoration? I don't see 4K enhancing the Breathless home viewing experience. I guess it might look a little more filmic or something?

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TheKieslowskiHaze
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Re: 408 Breathless

#257 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:53 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:01 am
Image
Image

From Jean Collet's diary tracking the Cine-club screenings he hosted in 1965, as translated via Cahiers du cinema in English. No. 3, 1966
This is great. I taught this movie for a few years in a high school media class and was always a little frustrated by how students talked about it. They'd been so trained in symbology that they couldn't help looking for meaning in everything. Texts to them were like puzzles to be solved, which, in my view, can often diminish the joy of reading and watching those texts.

So we read a little Sontag. I don't think it helped. By the end of the year, they much preferred Bicycle Thieves (which is great!) largely because, as my theory goes, there are concrete things any viewer can say about it. They could never quite wrap their heads around Godard.

bluesforyou
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Re: 408 Breathless

#258 Post by bluesforyou » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:19 am

TheKieslowskiHaze wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:42 pm
BillyLiar wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:12 pm
Breathless is being presented at Il Cinema Ritrovato in a fortnight, in the 'Recovered and restored 2020' section.
Other than the fact that the copy is from Studiocanal, does anyone have any further information about this?
https://festival.ilcinemaritrovato.it/e ... e-souffle/
I saw today that StudioCanal announced a new 4K blu-ray.

Part of me thinks: Does this movie really need a 4K restoration? I don't see 4K enhancing the Breathless home viewing experience. I guess it might look a little more filmic or something?
Any film would be enhanced by UHD. The restoration of Breathless used on the Criterion BD is quite old. The new restoration even on a BD disc would be an enhancement. On UHD, there will be better contrast, better detail in highlights and shadows, better preservation of high frequency detail, and it will look better in motion (since the higher bitrate preserves more information related to movement).

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domino harvey
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Re: 408 Breathless

#259 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:21 am

The resto is also being released on Blu-ray the same day

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TheKieslowskiHaze
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Re: 408 Breathless

#260 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:07 am

bluesforyou wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:19 am
Any film would be enhanced by UHD. The restoration of Breathless used on the Criterion BD is quite old. The new restoration even on a BD disc would be an enhancement. On UHD, there will be better contrast, better detail in highlights and shadows, better preservation of high frequency detail, and it will look better in motion (since the higher bitrate preserves more information related to movement).
Yeah, I understand all that. I'll put it this way:

When I first saw The Thin Red Line on blu-ray, after having seen it only on DVD, I thought: "Oh wow, this looks amazing, and this movie is actually pretty great." I didn't love Malick as a filmmaker until blu-ray was invented, as his biggest strength (cinematography) did not translate all that well to DVD and VHS.

If I ever see this 4K restoration of Breathless, however, I imagine I'll think something like: "Oh wow, the contrast is better."

I'm open to being proven wrong. Maybe it will deepen my appreciation for Breathless. I'm not complaining. I guess it's an aggregate good that the home viewing experience is getting closer and closer to an authentic theater experience. And I don't own Breathless in any format, so I may pick it up.

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tenia
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Re: 408 Breathless

#261 Post by tenia » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:41 am

I think it's a question that lies between heavily visual films and improved reproduction of a movie : even if a movie might not be a constant feast for the eye, it will still gain from a better more faithful reproduction through a better more faithful restoration and a more advanced format. Do only "eye-candy" movies ostensibly gain from this more faithful reproduction ? I don't think so.
And, after all, even Breathless probably didn't look so good on home video in the past, and its history on home video might not be that different from TTRL.

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