The Entirety of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless Artfully Compressed Into a 3 Minute Film

Gérard Courant is a French film­mak­er, who, at least until 2011, held the dis­tinc­tion of direct­ing the longest film ever made. Clock­ing in at 192 hours, and shot over 36 years (1978–2006), Ciné­ma­ton con­sist­ed of “a series of over 2,880 silent vignettes (ciné­ma­tons), each 3 min­utes and 25 sec­onds long, of var­i­ous celebri­ties, artists, jour­nal­ists and friends of the direc­tor, each doing what­ev­er they want for the allot­ted time.” Ken Loach, Wim Wen­ders, Ter­ry Gilliam, Julie Delpy all made appear­ances. And so too did Jean-Luc Godard. (See below.)

While mak­ing Ciné­ma­ton, Courant also cre­at­ed anoth­er kind of exper­i­men­tal film — what he calls “com­pressed” films. In 1995, he shot Com­pres­sion de Alphav­ille, an accel­er­at­ed homage to Jean-Luc Godard 1965 sci-fi filmAlphav­ille. Then came a “com­pres­sion” (top) of Godard­’s À bout de souffle/Breathless (1960), the clas­sic of French New Wave cin­e­ma.

Dur­ing the 1960s and 1970s, when Courant came of age as a film­mak­er, sculp­tors like César Bal­dac­ci­ni cre­at­ed art by com­press­ing every­day objects–like Coke cans–into mod­ern sculp­tures. So Courant took things a step fur­ther and fig­ured why not com­press art itself. Why not com­press a 90 minute film into 3–4 min­utes, while keep­ing the plot of the orig­i­nal film firm­ly intact.

Along the way, Courant asked him­self: Do com­pressed films hon­or the orig­i­nal? Does one have the right to touch these mas­ter­pieces? And can one decom­press these com­pressed films and then return them to their orig­i­nal form? Pon­der these ques­tions as you watch the exam­ples above.

Note: If you read French, Courant gives more of the back­sto­ry on his com­pressed films here.

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jean-Luc Godard Gives a Dra­mat­ic Read­ing of Han­nah Arendt’s “On the Nature of Total­i­tar­i­an­ism”

A Young Jean-Luc Godard Picks the 10 Best Amer­i­can Films Ever Made (1963)

Jef­fer­son Air­plane Wakes Up New York; Jean-Luc Godard Cap­tures It (1968)

Watch the Rolling Stones Write “Sym­pa­thy for the Dev­il”: From Jean-Luc Godard’s ’68 Film One Plus One

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