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The limited means of filming on Breathless


Godard's filming techniques
Raoul Coutard Film-maker
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So first of all, I would like to talk about the things because... for Breathless, in the end it was a film which was... which became again... As much as as Ramuntcho and Island Fishermen were for me technically complicated films because of the lighting, so Breathless was in the preamble. No lighting, we film as if it were a news report. So and at the same time there was a sort of simplification. The simplification was that Jean-Luc filmed in order, so he filmed in order for two reasons. I think that it simplified things for him but also above all because in reality there is no script. Meaning that Jean-Luc came in every day with his big school notebook where he had written what he wanted to film, the dialogues, etc. So I mean we filmed in order.

Alors déjà, je voudrais parler déjà des choses parce que... Pour A bout de souffle, c'était un film qui finalement était... Redevenait... Autant disons techniquement pour moi Ramuntcho et Pêcheur d'Islande étaient des films compliqués parce qu'il y avait de la lumière, donc A bout de souffle dans le préambule était... Pas de lumière, on tourne comme si c'était un reportage. Bon et en même temps il y avait une espèce de simplification. La simplification elle était que Jean-Luc tournait dans l'ordre, bon il tournait dans l'ordre pour deux raisons. Je pense que pour lui ça lui simplifiait la vie mais surtout aussi parce qu'en réalité il n'y a pas de scénario. C'est-à-dire que Jean-Luc il arrivait tous les jours avec sous le bras un grand cahier d'écolier où il avait écrit ce qu'il voulait tourner, les dialogues, etc. Donc je veux dire on tournait dans l'ordre.

French cinematographer, Raoul Coutard (1924-2016) was twice nominated for the César Award for best cinematography which he won in 1978 for 'Le Crabe-tambour'. He made over 75 films and documentaries, including 'À Bout de Souffle', Le Mépris' and 'Band à Part'. He was the most acclaimed French cinematographer of his generation and one of the key figures of the New Wave.

Listeners: Bernard Cohn

Bernard Cohn est un réalisateur et écrivain français, ayant réalisé cinq film ainsi que de nombreux reportages et séries télévisées. En tant qu'assistant réalisateur, il a travaillé avec plusieurs grands cinéastes, notamment Luis Buñuel, François Truffaut, Otto Preminger et Woody Allen. Il fut membre fondateur du ciné-club Ciné-Qua-Non et a participé à la rédaction et traduction en anglais, de plusieurs ouvrages sur le cinéma.

Benard Cohn is a French filmmaker and writer, who has directed five films as well as numerous documentaries and television series. As an assistant director, he worked with many important filmmakers, including Luis Buñuel, François Jacob, Otto Preminger and Woody Allen. He was a founding member of the Ciné-Qua-Non cinema club and has acted as editor and translator for various publications on the world of cinema.

Tags: Breathless, Island Fishermen, Ramuntcho, Jean-Luc Godard

Duration: 57 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008