All the modern movies started here with Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless. There hasn't been a film début so influential, so groundbreaking and so changed the fundamental rules of film since Orson Welles Citizen Kane. Every music video that you have seen on MTV, every popcorn action flick that you watch in the theatre and every movie with throwaway film references wouldn't have begun if it wasn't for Breathless. It was also the radical technique of jump cuts which became a huge breakthrough in the way films were conceived and constructed, which was a very startling innovation for audiences to witness at the time Breathless was released, with critic Andrew Sarris stating, "the meaninglessness of the time interval between moral decisions."
Breathless became the quintessential film of the French New Wave which was a movement that rejected the traditional French cinema and embraced a rougher, more freewheeling style of film-making, often choosing to shoot on location, using natural lighting and hand-held cameras which added a personal and experimental feel for the films. Many of the New Wavers were critics for the anti-establishment magazine Cahiers du Cinema which included Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, Frances Truffaut and Jacques Rivette And yet what makes Breathless extremely pivotal was the cool detachment of narcissistic characters who were selfish, obsessed with themselves and oblivious to society and of the outside world. Michel, the main character in Breathless is a rebellious and arrogant youth who believes he is invincible to the brutal realities of the law and pretends to be as tough as the movie stars he sees in the movies.