This week, as part of my Film History class, I attended a showing of Jean-Luc Godard’s debut film A Bout De Souffle (Breathless) at the Ross theater. This was the second time I had the privilege of watching this film, which is in actuality my favorite film of all time, on the “big screen.” After having seen this film countless times, aside from the two aforementioned times, I have come to the conclusion that one of the reasons that this film has such an impact on me is the fact that the characters are based within the “real world.” While the action and the way in which the narrative plays out cater quite well to the cinema, the one aspect that I find quite intriguing is the way in which the world outside the narrative plays a distinct role in the character development. I speak mainly of the fact that in many films, especially films which one might consider cinematic landmarks, and in particularly films of which the story is based in “crime” (such as this film) pop culture and the outside influence of the world (esp. the world in which the viewer lives) is simply left out, or if included is completely irrelevant. However, with Godard’s debut he most certainly doesn’t glaze over these influences , on the contrary he revels in them. From Michel’s obsession with “Bogey,” to Patricia’s posters and reproductions of paintings (as well as her reference to Faulkner), to references to newspapers (the tribune and cahier du cinema) to the uses of music throughout to the simple fact that Patricia is a journalist who interviews a pop culture icon (in the film and outside of the film, since it is in fact Melville) this film is firmly rooted in cultural references of the times. This creates a character (Michel as well as Patricia) who, for me is easy to relate to, since as a human living in a world which is so consumed by culture (most of the pop variety) I am also influenced constantly by the forms of media around me (literature, cinema, music, and in this day in age television). While it isn’t a fault of most characters that they seem impervious to the influence of culture (and I most certainly do not speak ontologically about film, since what I say doesn’t apply to all film), I merely believe that the fact that Godard’s characters embrace the pop culture that surrounds the young people of their time provides a certain relatiblity to the characters.

… just a thought.