Breathless by Jean Luc Goddard. Unconventional narrative structures in New Wave French film.

Essay by amelie November 2002

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Breathless - jean Luc Goodard

In Breathless the story is told through random events and references. It could be described as a story about nothing, with no beginning and no end, " I want to be immortal, and then die.' The plot and the characters are ambiguous little is described about them and there is no general linear direction. Pieces of the puzzle are shown through different media throughout the film rather than through event and action. Jean Luc Goddard's Breathless breaks away from conventions of narrative through the films structure, plot and subject matter. This is shown through the films loose portrayal of action but with a greater focus on underlying ideas and concepts.

The narrative structure of Breathless breaks away from conventional lines as it has only a vague direction and motive. None of the characters have a defined goal that they work to achieve; the action that occurs does not have a direct response, which precedes it.

The narrative itself is portrayed through random events rather than a consequential chain of action. At the beginning of the film we are introduced to the main character Michel, although little information is provided on his background, his motives and his ultimate goal. Throughout Breathless Michel always seems to be running away from someone and running after someone else. The narrative is portrayed as a constant chase sequence with moments of action interspersed. As the film progresses segments of his identity, motive and emotions are revealed through other forms of media within the film, rather than directly through the plot itself. Although at the end of the film Michel is still running, he has run into himself.

Through the loose structure of Breathless the narrative is depicted in a mirroring effect. The structure of the film lacks convention as...