Breathless cool: the enduring influence of the Nouvelle Vague







  • Still from A Bout de Souffle

    Still from A Bout de Souffle

  • Anna Karina on the set of Une Femme est une Femme

    Anna Karina on the set of Une Femme est une Femme

  • Still from A Bout de Souffle

    Still from A Bout de Souffle

  • Antoine et Colette, Parc Monceau, 1962.

    Antoine et Colette, Parc Monceau, 1962.

  • Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina in Paris.

    Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina in Paris.

  • Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina on the set of Une Femme est une Femme

    Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina on the set of Une Femme est une Femme

  • Peau de Banan, Marcel Ophulse, 1963.

    Peau de Banan, Marcel Ophulse, 1963.

  • François Truffaut on the set of  Jules et Jim, 1961

    François Truffaut on the set of Jules et Jim, 1961

All images © Raymond Cauchetier, courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London



Raymond Cauchetier’s behind the scenes photographs of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless in 1959, on show now at James Hyman gallery, attest to a new wave in French cinema that still defines freshness and innovation today.

The Nouvelle Vague began, more or less, with Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960), and it came in a rush.

Upstart and “arsehole” Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a man in motion. On the run and racing off in a stolen car before his female accomplice has time to get in with him, he speeds down the motorway, cursing anyone who dares slow his breakneck pace.

Michel embodies a fugitive brand of modernity, too fast and fleeting to pin down, so even Godard’s innovative editing is jumpy and restless – and yet he will come crashing to a halt in Paris, while he waits on his American lover Patricia (Jean Seberg) to decide whether she will move on with him to Rome.

Patricia wants to stay and to finish her studies – and yet far from representing the stasis of the past, she is in fact younger than Michel, sports a thoroughly modern hairstyle, and wants her own independence, rather than to play a pre-written rôle in Michel’s story.

Raymond Cauchetier’s contact sheet from the set of François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim


2015-06-15T13:03:12+00:00





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