”The most conceptual painting of the 20th century” turns 60 (Topic)

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”The most conceptual painting of the 20th century” turns 60

Image An important jubilee of world cinema - the film "In the Last Breath" directed by Jean-Luc Godard is 60 years old. The daring improvisation of 1960 became a breath of fresh air for the audience and one of the main symbols of the French New Wave.

In those years, outstanding Robert Bresson and Jean Cocteau worked in France, but they did not influence the galaxy of young filmmakers. Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Romer, Claude Chabrol, who would later be called the directors of the "new wave", were regulars at the French Cinematheque. It was a film archive created in 1936 by Henri Langlois, Georges Frangu and Jean Mitri with the aim of storing, restoring and displaying films from all over the world. This is how young Jean-Luc Godard and his fellow critics at Cahiers du Cinema gained access to the free American cinema that delighted them. The author's techniques, editing features, a variety of cinematic stylistics of such masters as Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang sparked in young authors the desire to shoot their own films. Time required its rebels, and such rebels were found.


"On the Last Breath" is Jean-Luc Godard's full-length debut.“I thought I was filming something like a sequel to Scarface, and then I looked and saw that it was more like“ Alice in Wonderland ”, - he will say a few years later about his film producer. This is a story about a man who is superfluous for society, a young and cynical criminal Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo), who, while escaping a pursuit in a stolen car, accidentally kills a police officer. Circumstances force him to go to his American friend, student journalist Patricia (Jean Seberg). And then love, risk, play and a passionate desire for freedom will intertwine. And from the very first shots, there is hopelessness through everything, to which the viewer does not want to pay attention. In this picture, everything will live in the moment, not a predetermined outcome ...


The film became truly groundbreaking. Godard experimented with everything. The extremely low budget of the painting, the lack of the necessary technique - all this led to an unexpected freedom of creativity. It is a well-known fact that the operator of the picture, Raoul Coutard, moved during the filming in something like a wheelchair - so he “floated” along with the characters along the Champs Elysees. The dynamism and tension of the picture, in addition to shooting "hand-held", was given by a special, so-called ragged editing. Improvisation lasted the entire filming period (from August 17 to September 15, 1959). The script was written “on their knees,” and the actors learned about their scenes already on the set, which, by the way, was often played by Godard's apartment.


Of course, there was a share of imitation of American cinema here, but it was so original that it rather looked like a virtuoso flirting. Jean Seberg imitates his own image from the painting "Hello, Sadness", and the hero Belmondo flaunts in front of the portrait of Humphrey Bogart, diligently reproducing his signature gestures (for example, running his finger over his lip). Godard collected references to many American films, expressing his sympathy for noir, and in the end created something new, revolutionary.


Sergei Dobrotvorsky in one of his lectures will say:“When the camera became light, and Godard ran down the street with it along with Belmondo, it was already a new degree of freedom ...“ In the Last Breath ”is one of the most conceptual films of the 20th century, because it shows that everything is possible. Everything is possible in the cinema ”.

The Topic of Article: ”The most conceptual painting of the 20th century” turns 60.
Author: Jake Pinkman