I just came back from the cinemateque, having finally seen A bout de souffle, Jean-Luc Godards début and hard core contribution to the Nouvelle Vague cinema. It is better than I thought, and surprisingly funny, at times hilarious. The main character Michel Poiccard has an unbelievably slurred expression, acting on instinct in every situation. I could go so far as to say that he is the opposite of myself. A grown French man acting as a lonesome teenager gone wild, not taking any formal framework into consideration for his actions. His eyes turn away as soon as you try to catch a though in his mind, perhaps because there are none. The girl Patricia, a young ambitious tomboy, obviously much more intelligent and mature than Michel, is still seduced by his boyish maverick style. Their interplay is at times frustrating, as he is mostly interested in getting under her clothes and she plays on her sexuality and confuses him. The dialogue is abrupt and inconsistent, and Godard's visual style establishes a restless flow of jump cuts.
The funniest line in the film is when Patricia is sent to interview Mr Parvulescu, a writer realeasing his new book Candida. The questions from the surrounding journalists are as idiosynchric as his cryptic replies, and I turned in laughter for this sharp yet harmless parody on culture journalism. A nervous guy asks Mr Parvulescu in obliviousness how many men a women can love in a lifetime. Physically, that is. He starts counting with his hands: 5..10...20...30... "Plus que ça". More than that. Hilarious. In the end, Patricia gets her question answered:
- What is your big ambition in life?
- To become immortal, and then to die.
I say no more. For once this arty farty experience (going to see a French Nouvelle Vague classic in the cinemateque on a Saturday night) was worth every second and Danish krone. This is truly a masterpiece and I wish to see it many times more.