May 31, 2009
I ended my JLG month with Breathless. I think it represents my relationship with his films better than any other.
It was my very first JLG and I was tremendously disappointed. I attacked it, perhaps too viciously if only because I had not been as impressed with it as others would want me to. Yet it stuck with me. The typical love/hate relationship was born.
Years later, having become obsessed with film from the 1920s and 30s, I visited Breathless again (admittedly, my third or fourth time by now). The film's energy was a revelation. Its place in history made sense. I enjoyed it.
And now, after a month of falling in love with JLG's late work, after a month in which his 60s accomplishments became severely overshadowed and diminished, I visit Breathless again, and I find it as strong as ever. Not because of it's ideas and techniques, which are as weak as JLG has ever done, but because the film is so recklessly romantic and anti-sentimental. For all of his elderly wisdom and fierce intellect, JLG is forever defined by his naively passionate youth.
Perhaps life's regret is that we outlive our passion. As Old Man Godard settles into his retirement, what of his life will remain? Memories of yesterday; the melancholic recollections of dreams long past; a taste of the final pangs of passion; Breathless.