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Beginning with Breathless

January 16, 2012

Jean Luc Godard is something of a polarizing director.  Some folks herald his cinematic innovations as the forefather of French New Wave, while others find his symbolist, often politically charged films to be overrated.  Whatever your thoughts, you kind of can’t deny the beauty of Breathless, Godard’s first feature film.

Released in 1960 and starring American actress Jean Seberg and French Godard fixture Jean Paul Belmondo, Breathless seems one of the director’s most straight-forward films, which isn’t to say it is without its avant garde touches. With aggressive editing and the stunning compositions within its masterful cinematography, the technical visual aspects of Breathless alone are enough reason to add this one to your queue, but what really makes it worthy of a Sally Lou Vintage mention is the fashion!

Every bit the gamine ingenue, Jean Seberg became an icon for how well she wore her striped, boatneck top.  With a little tomboyish nod (complete with a perfect pixie cut), her wardrobe has ultimately become classic: chic black slippers, a nautical dress, black cigarette pants, and a knee-length pleated skirt.  I’m on a mission to replicate every single outfit she wears in this movie!

And do we even need to discuss Jean Paul Belmondo?  Always the handsome rebel, he channels a rogue Humphrey Bogart in tipped fedoras and smart suits, albeit with modern touches like a shorter cut pant, a herringbone jacket or a checkered tie.

What I am saying is this: in experimenting with Godard, begin at Breathless.  At more than fifty years old, it still feels as fresh and stylish as ever.  Below is a clip from my favorite scene and some gorgeous stills from the film.  Hope you like! 🙂








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