2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Style, Morality, and Inconclusiveness in Godard's Breathless
Molly M. McCleery
Dr. Bob Mielke, Faculty Mentor

Breathless (À bout de souffle), Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 film illustrating the relationship between French fugitive Michel Poiccard and Patricia Franchini, an American student and aspiring journalist, leaves viewers with numerous possibilities for interpretation. Much of the struggle to interpret Breathless stems from the film's ending; just as Patricia fails to understand Michel's dying words, viewers and critics alike are left teasing apart the various ways in which Patricia's turning Michel in to the police can be interpreted. While viewers can easily construe Patricia's actions as either a betrayal of Michel or an attempt to garner independence, when considering the film in its entirety, these two conclusions appear overly simplistic. Rather, in Breathless, Godard represents a new cinematic world in which traditional moral codes are reversed in favor of stylistic motivations, leading to an inconclusive ending where neither Michel nor Patricia holds more power than the other.

Keywords: Film Criticism, Godard, Deconstruction, Breathless

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 19-1
Location: OP 2117
Time: 9:45

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