Breathless


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Breathless | Parker, Cornelia | V&A Search the Collections

Back Print this record. Please complete the form to email this item. The recipient's name Recipient's email address Your name. Breathless Parker, Cornelia, born Enlarge image. Breathless Object: Sculptural installation. Silver-plated brass wind instruments, flattened and suspended on stainless steel wire. Physical description 54 flattened silver-plated brass wind instruments, arranged in circular formation and suspended on stainless steel wires.

Descriptive line Sculpture Installation, 54 flattened silver-plated brass wind instruments, by Cornelia Parker, Britain, Subjects depicted Musical instruments; Wind instruments Categories Installation art; Musical instruments Collection Sculpture Collection. Help with searching About the database Browsing Searching. Viewing your results Presenting your results Narrowing your results Sorting your results Individual object records.

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Your account Registration and login Edit account Recent order history. In an interview with that other onetime revolutionary firebrand of the s, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Godard said simply: "Don't translate, learn languages. Nowadays, I only see a new film by the aloof, hectoring, didactic Godard when wild horses turn up at my front gate to drag me to a London press screening. How, then, to explain what Godard meant to us back in the 60s? Why did I put on the dustjacket of my first book a photograph of myself scowling in a leather jacket and dark glasses, a cigarette in the corner of my mouth, because I thought it made me look like Godard?

Why did we sit around discussing the ideas and innovations of Godard the way young filmgoers today talk about box-office grosses, special effects and continuity errors?

Since the mids we'd been looking for the new in the arts, society and politics, and our latest hopes were being invested in our cinema's working-class realism, which came out of fiction and the theatre, and in the nouveau roman and nouvelle vague from across the Channel. Talk of the new wave dominated Cannes in , when films as different from each other as Marcel Camus's Black Orpheus , Alain Resnais's Hiroshima mon amour and Truffaut's Les Quatre cents coups were perceived as characteristic examples of the new movement.

They saw directors or at least a select group of them as auteurs, a term soon introduced into worldwide usage. These omniscient figures, whose ranks they sought to join, were seen as imposing their personalities, at times almost mystically, on every film they made, wielding what the moviemaker and theorist Alexandre Astruc called " le camera stylo " or cinematic pen.

Between and an astonishing French filmmakers directed their first features, happily marching under the new wave banner, which was as vague as it was in vogue. But few were truly radical and innovative. The chief exception was Godard, the year-old Franco-Swiss intellectual, as passionate about Hegel as he was about Hitchcock, an artist bent on transforming the nature of cinema and with it the world. Breathless was the real thing. They are what Ezra Pound was talking about when he said that "great literature is news that remains news". Claude Chabrol, who served as supervising producer on Breathless , famously warned that great subjects rarely make great films.

And Godard, the master of the gnomic epigram and perceptive paradox, once said: "All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.

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Its antihero, the swaggering, misogynistic petty criminal Michel Belmondo , steals a car in the south of France and kills a policeman on the road to Paris, where he takes up with an old girlfriend, the well-heeled American, Patricia Seberg. They talk of life and literature in particular Faulkner's The Wild Palms in a seedy hotel, make love and visit the movies while he tries to get money owed him by criminal associates. The police close in, Patricia betrays him.

Hardboiled B-feature stuff. But the style is everything, a calculated destruction and remaking of traditional film grammar, and Godard formulated his much-quoted idea that "a film should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order". The film is dedicated to Monogram Pictures, the celebrated B-movie studio on Hollywood's Poverty Row, the camera is handheld, the editing is abrupt and inconsistent, Raoul Coutard's masterly monochrome photography is harsh, hard-edged, reliant on natural light.

The much-admired director of existential gangster pictures, Jean-Pierre Melville, makes an appearance as himself, the first of such cameos in a Godard picture. We are constantly distanced in the manner of Brecht's alienation effect, told that what we are watching is a film, but also that movies, like our lives, are halls of mirrors. Godard's methods of work on Breathless were purposefully chaotic.

He admitted that he deliberately created confusion to achieve "a greater possibility of invention".

Breathless continues to shock and surprise 50 years on

Shooting in the busy streets of Paris, he avoided crowd control, and at one point a policeman leapt from a passing bus to assist an apparently dying Belmondo. Over the next eight years Godard made a dozen feature films and contributed to several portmanteau pictures that defined and refined his art, and they've influenced several generations of cineastes from Nagisa Oshima through Wim Wenders to Quentin Tarantino.

Yet the playfulness, the apparent sheer love of the movies, eventually gave way to a deep ambivalence, as his doubts about Hollywood changed to loathing and his sceptical attitude towards the States became unabashed anti-Americanism.

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He replied: "I have contempt for it. It is nothing. It does not exist.

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