THOUGH IT'S CURRENTLY CELEBRATING its 50th anniversary, Jean-Luc Godard's jump-cut pioneering, nouvelle vague-defining film remains surprisingly fresh—Breathless is an account of two young people trying on roles in the big city, relevant to any 22-year-old currently rocking an asymmetrical haircut and a copy of Shoplifting from American Apparel. The big city here happens to be Paris, richly gorgeous in this reissued print, which was cleaned up with the assistance of the film's original cinematographer, Raoul Coutard.
On the run from police after killing an officer, Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) apes Humphrey Bogart and aspires to a level of thuggery that proves beyond his actual skill set. He turns for help to Patricia, played by Jean Seberg—AKA one of the most adorable adult humans ever caught on film, at least until she opens her mouth and that "two years of high school French" accent clunks out. She hawks papers in the streets of Paris, pert and independent in her New York Herald Tribune T-shirt, and it's easy to see why Michel finds her so charming. As the two act out scenes they learned from the movies, the city lights of Paris seem as tangible as the Eiffel Tower—and more solid, in the end, than the careless bond between Patricia and the doomed Michel.