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Slideshow

PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

CONTEMPT & BREATHLESS

Saturday, August 20

CONTEMPT
12:30   4:25   8:20

BREATHLESS
2:35   6:30   10:25

DOUBLE FEATURE: Two films for one admission. Tickets purchased entitle patrons to stay and see the following film at no additional charge.

CONTEMPT

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Starring Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance and Fritz Lang

(1963) That’s what ex-typist Brigitte Bardot has for husband/playwright/screenwriter Michel Piccoli – but why? Does she think he used her to get that lucrative assignment (to rewrite an adaptation of The Odyssey, to be directed by Fritz Lang) from overbearing American producer Jack Palance? Was it that (innocent) fanny pat to multilingual interpreter Giorgia Moll? Or does she “not love him anymore?” Godard, given international stars, a best-selling novel by Alberto Moravia, two high-maintenance producers (Joseph E. Levine and Carlo Ponti), and the biggest budget of his career, still succeeded, as usual, in overturning conventions of mainstream filmmaking, while producing a meditation on post-Hollywood filmmaking; CinemaScope (“only for snakes and funerals,” chortles Lang); imposing modern psychological interpretations on classical themes; and Bardot’s derrière. DCP. 103 mins.
12:30, 4:25, 8:20


“BRILLIANT. Godard is as merciless as ever. A prescient exercise in meta. Georges Delerue’s elegiac score strikes a moving and unsettling juxtaposition of the exaltation and meanness of human life. In a seminal real-time sequence chronicling the marriage’s unwinding in microcosm as the couple meanders through their apartment, Godard literally depicts the confining architecture of marital regimentation. Eventually it will crumble under the strain of suppressed emotion and the weight of myth.”
– Jonathan Stevenson, Brooklyn Magazine 

“A seductive bouquet of enchantments…a masterwork of modern cinema.”
– Phillip Lopate, New York Times

“Like a Cézanne still life or a Sullivan skyscraper, it yields a low rumble – the sound of rules changing.”
– Dave Kehr

“Godard is a prose-poet of contempt. He has contempt for postwar imperialism, for the hypocrisy of sexual relations, and even for the commerce underlying modern cinema. He is, at all times, fiercely skeptical of power relations, especially those implicit in movie-making.”
– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“A gorgeous CinemaScope movie paradise of sin and spiritual and physical dilapidation.”
– Slant

“Possibly Godard’s most melancholy film and probably his most beautiful… a near-perfect sphere, an exploration of the cosmos of sadness that can open up between a man and a woman, between a living room, a bedroom, and beyond.”
– Village Voice

BREATHLESS

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg

(1960) “To become immortal, and then to die.” Lip-stroking pug Jean-Paul’s on the run, shooting cops and stealing cars – as well as cash from the handbag of thickly-Iowa-accented, Herald Tribune-hawking girlfriend Jean Seberg; with the typically Gallic undertone of femmes vs. hommes as the couple engage in boudoir philosophy, staring contests, sous blanket tussels, and plenty of le smoking. Erstwhile Cahier du Cinéma critic Godard’s début feature turned a sketchy outline from critical confrère François Truffaut into one of the benchmarks of the New Wave, seemingly reinventing cinema itself, and immediately rocketing Belmondo (in his ninth film) and Seberg (the beginning of her European eminence following two Preminger flops in a row) to world stardom, and beginning Godard’s decade of supreme hipness, of seemingly compulsive, and often outrageous, innovation. The pace is non-stop – a better translation of the title is “out of breath” – thanks to the startling, then-revolutionary use of jump-cutting (when the first edit came in at 3 hours, New Wave godfather Jean-Pierre Melville – seen here as writer “Parvulesco” – advised losing the subplots, but JLG instead did the unheard of: cutting freely within shots); while the “je m’en fous” attitude of both protagonist and film proved the prototype of movie cool that every would-be cinéaste still aspires to. 35mm. Approx. 89 mins.
2:35, 6:30, 10:25


“A singularly penetrating film noir that still jars after more than 50 years. Jean-Paul Belmondo breaks out in full amoral, chain-smoking swagger...Godard’s then-novel use of jump-cuts and Belmondo’s signature restlessness convey Michel’s defiantly unreflective, kinetic, and Darwinian approach to existence.”
– Jonathan Stevenson, Brooklyn Magazine

“As fresh and startling as it was 50 years ago.”
– Martin Scorsese

“There’s Potemkin, Citizen Kane, and this…Godard’s first film.”
– J. Hoberman

 “No film has been at once so connected to all that had come before it and yet so liberating…[It’s] like high-energy fusion of jazz and philosophy. After Breathless, most other new films seemed instantly old-fashioned.”
– Richard Brody

“Soon after Breathless first appeared, not only were millions mimicking Belmondo’s own mannerisms but filmmakers began to imitate Godard. His footprints show up in everything from A Hard Day’s Night and Bonnie and Clyde to today’s sassy, bounding, nervously edited commercials for athletic shoes and blue jeans. In the seven years following Breathless, Godard created a run of movies that may be the greatest period of sustained brilliance in motion picture history. But his genius was already obvious in this lilting yet heartbreaking masterpiece which captures the lyricism and cruelty of city life, the easy amoralism of youthful impatience, the melancholy dead-end of male-female relations, the doomed romanticism of those weaned on old movies.”
– John Powers

“The atmospheric fatalism of the French gangster movie hot-spliced with the plot-driven fatalism of American Film Noir…It lit the fuse for the whole youth movement in cinema. Some of todays’ young directors may not even know how indebted they are to Godard’s work; the fact remains that Breathless is where it – they – all began.”
– Phillip Lopate, The New York Times