20 Foreign Language Movies You Must See Before You Die

19. Breathless

StudioCanal

Country: France.

Plot: A thief forms a plan to escape to Italy after killing a policeman and hopes to take his girlfriend with him.

Breathless was the Pulp Fiction of its day. It tore up the cinematic rule-book and sent shock-waves through the industry that can still be felt today. It also marked the start of the French New Wave, which might be the finest film movement of them all.

Is Breathless the best film of that movement? Perhaps not quite, but it's certainly one of the French New Wave's best films and it's easily one of the most important films of all time. It's a gloriously cool, visually brilliant and consistently striking work that blends its amazing style with a subtle, never forced level of substance.

Although viewers will have to tolerate some narrative drift, this is still a highly enjoyable work of film art that's absolutely essential viewing for any aspiring film-maker and film student.

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Film Studies graduate, aspiring screenwriter and all-around nerd who, despite being a pretentious cinephile who loves art-house movies, also loves modern blockbusters and would rather watch superhero movies than classic Hollywood films. Once met Tommy Wiseau.