After seeing Contempt and Vivre Sa Vie, I have a hard time comprehending why Breathless is so much more highly regarded than the other two aforementioned films, which I think are far superior as works of cinema
I don’t think Breathless is more highly regarded than Contempt and Vivre sa vie, which are two of Godard’s most acclaimed works. Its reputation lies in it being a breakthrough French New Wave film and the first film of a prominent nouvelle vague filmmaker, in this case Jean-Luc Godard, along with The 400 Blows (first Truffaut), Hiroshima Mon Amour (first Resnais), La Pointe Courte (first Varda), Le Serge Beau (first Chabrol), Paris nous appartient (first Rivette) etc.
And what does it matter to you whether or not other people think that “Vivre sa vie is better than Breathless”? Ultimately, your subjective experience should shape your impression of the film; although blatantly lacking elaboration, your thread feels somewhat like an attempt to establish your assertion as an objective fact.
Yes to your question and Breathless is so much more highly regarded because it came first.
I probably like them equally, Une Femme is my favorite Godard film though. I really didn’t like Le Mepris, apart from the awesome cinematography (that scene in the apatment, amazing!), music and Michael Piccoli.
Yeah, I’ve been saying it for years.
Vivre sa vie is definitely a greater film than Breathless. It’s Godard’s first masterpiece.
Personal ranking for those three -
1. Vivre sa vie
2. Le Mepris
And I really enjoyed Breathless.
Personally speaking, it’s the one Godard film I really love. I think that’s more subjective than anything though. My dad just happened to bring it home one night many years ago from the (korean) ma and pa rental store he frequents. Korean subtitles, a copy of a copy kind of deal on top of that. Regardless, I had never seen anything like it up to that point. It really shook up my idea of movies. With that said, I’ll never know if Breathless would’ve had the same effect on me had I seen that first.
Keep in mind Godard didn’t even like Breathless in the end.
“Vivre sa Vie” is a towering accomplishment. I have it ranked right behind “Breathless” though in the Godard canon. You can certainly make the argument that it is better than any other film he ever made.
“Keep in mind Godard didn’t even like Breathless in the end.” Pretty irrelevant thing to say, why should we bare in mind that for – should that effect our judgement, of course not.
Would it be more relevant if the comment was “I never even liked Breathless”? Is it more relevant to hear some random forumgoer’s opinion of the film, or the creator’s?
I guess your comment’s valid with the way he phrased it, but I thought it was interesting.
I don’t think any director ever admits to liking their first film. Especially if their first was a huge influential hit. They always sort of talk down on it in deference to later films where they feel they were more advanced and polished as filmmakers. Sometimes it rings true, sometimes it sounds like false humility.
I think “Vivre sa Vie”is indeed the better movie but of course, “Breathless” had more of an impact when it came out and will probably always be mentioned first when they talk of the French new wave. Just make sure that you don’t confuse “important” with “quality”, many times when magazines or books talk about something historically, they’re talking more about the impact of it and less about the quality of it.
Where does the 400 blows fall into this discussion, because different sources say the 400 blows started the New Wave while others say Breathless started the new wave. Perhaps, it was relatively simultaneous, and is thus difficult to distinguish?
To clarify, no film started the new wave. Its birth was the result of the establishment a (or two) conscious movement(s). The first new wave film is widely believed to be either Chabrol’s Le Beau Serge or Varda’s La Pointe Courte, but even so, the order in which the films were made is not very important. Also, Paris Belongs to Us was in production before either Breathless or The 400 Blows as with Hiroshima Mon Amour.
That’s correct. No one single film “started” the French New Wave. Varda’s film has been cited as the first to openly display the aesthetics of the New Wave. But “400 Blows” is often remembered as the film that introduced the New Wave to the world and announced their successes to come.
“Pretty irrelevant thing to say, why should we bare in mind that for…” – Allan
It’s all relevant. If we only occupy our own little world where only our own opinion matters and is relevant, then where are we? Narcissism. Wise’s comment is entirely relevant, unlike the one attempting to negate it.
I don’t think either are his best films though, La Mepris or Masculin Feminin or Pierret Le Fou perhaps?
I think I may need to think harder about it though.
It’s irrelevant to this discussion because Godard has frequently decided certain phases of his career were a stupid waste of time including both Breathless and Vivre sa vie. If you’re going to stop watching films every time a filmmaker decides their early youthful stuff was crap you’re not going to watch many films by great artists.
I prefer Vivre sa vie to Breathless. But I like Masculin Feminin better than both.
Actually I’m quite fond of Ici et ailleurs too, just because Godard is so good at criticizing his own work.
Vivre sa Vie is much better than Breathless – more compelling and more daring as far as cinematic technique.
I like most of Godard’s films that I’ve seen more than Breathless.
In fact, Breathless is why I now prefer to see movies without reading about them. I read so much high acclaim and praise and felt let down when I didn’t think it was better than Band of Outsiders or Pierrot le fou (the two Godards I saw prior to Breathless).
Vivre sa Vie and Breathless are VERY different films. They’re both great and by the same filmmaker, but their moods and methods are quite distinct.
“Brethless” is a jazzy up-to-date renditon of a traditional French crime film about a chamring hood (eg. Pepe Le Moko) “Vivre Sa Vie” is a film about prostituion inspred by Bresson, Mizoguchi and Jean Rouch and Edgar Morn’s “Chronicle of a Summer.”
I have trouble thinking in terms of better or worse sometimes, but I do currently LIKE My Life To Live better, but that changes from time to time.