Homework #8: Jump Cuts in Godard’s “Breathless”

Film still of Patricia (Jean Seberg) in car, Jean-Luc Godard, "Breathless," 1960
Film still of Patricia (Jean Seberg) in car, Jean-Luc Godard, “Breathless,” 1960

Jean-Luc Godard’s extensive use of jump cuts in Breathless (À bout de souffle) 1960 was highly influential on the “look” of many later films. In a jump cut, two shots of the same subject differ in angle or composition, the disjuncture creates a visual “jump” on the screen. The jump cut is an example of discontinuous editing, however, the uneven transition of one shot to another is often described as an amateurish technique. Yet, Godard masterfully uses the jump cut to highlight the urban rhythm of Paris and the whirlwind pace of modern romance. Watch this clip, in which Michel (Jean Paul Belmondo) gives Patricia (Jean Seberg) a ride across town to her appointment. Note the number of jump cuts in the car sequence, in particular, the change in backdrop that frames Patricia’s head.

For this week’s homework, please search for the use of jump cuts in a later film. You can watch clips of a movie you like to see whether  jump cuts are used, or simply “google” jump cuts. Post a link to the film you’ve found and describe the impact of the jump cuts in that film clip.

Watch the car sequence in Breathless here.

To complete this homework assignment, note whether you Post or CommentFor Homework #8, Diamonds and Spades Post and Clubs and Hearts Comment (choose any of your classmates’ posts to comment on).

Due December 1st (after Thanksgiving!) 

11 thoughts on “Homework #8: Jump Cuts in Godard’s “Breathless””

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvfTNRsVGlM
    The Film that I chose to show jump cuts is SNATCH (2000). This is film is an amazing movie if you have not seen it please do. You will not regret it.
    This film’s jump cuts go very well with what the guys are doing. First off it’s a great start to the movie jumping right into the action. The jump cuts also represent the fast pace movement that the guys have to make because they are in the middle of a robbery!

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yLZjiowQIU

    Jump Street is probably one of the best movies I ever saw. It is so hilarious, and i know many of you enjoyed watching the second one more than the first.

    In the following scene, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) meets the father of the girl he is having sexual affairs with. The father happens to be his boss and head chief (Ice Cube). When he sees Schmidt and figures what is going on he begins having a tantrum in the restaurant. He starts throwing the food from the buffet line and goes crazy. The scene jumps to where Schmidt and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are in the chief’s office and you see Schmidt strapping a bullet proof vest in fear that his boss will kill him. This comical scene is probably one of the best out of the whole film.

    1. This is one of my favorite movies. That was a really good example to use a comedy especially like 22 Jump Street. I completely forgot all about that scene until you gave specific details. Great work!

    2. Jump Street is an awesome movie! Thanks for the video. The second one was great also, but I liked the first one way better. Although (as Professor Cheng stated previously), jumps cuts are considered an “amateur” technique, I don’t believe so at all. They give the effect of jumping forward in time. This scene happens so quickly that the jump cuts are not so noticeable. However, they are a great yet simple editing technique.

    3. I also agree Jump street is a great movie and is filled with tons of excellent actors. As to the point of jump cuts being a amateur technique, I would not have known that without taking this class. Me personally I like that style. I am not much a reader so I tend to watch a lot of movies and documentaries as well as channels in which I can learn from. The jump cut technique works well in movies like jump street and other funny movies, when you want to see the expressions of multiple characters as well as just giving the audience the scene from a different angle or view point. It also is good on things like animal channels when they jump from predator and prey scenes.

  3. Jump Street is an awesome movie! Thanks for the video. The second one was great also, but I liked the first one way better. Although (as Professor Cheng stated previously), jumps cuts are considered an “amateur” technique, I don’t believe so at all. They give the effect of jumping forward in time. This scene happens so quickly that the jump cuts are not so noticeable. However, they are a great yet simple editing technique.

  4. Run Lola Run by Tom Tykwer. It is an action film in which the whole film is basically Lola running up and down the streets.Almost the complete film include jump cuts. It gives the viewer Lola’s perspective, it shows the same scene with three different outcomes, what the main character could have done. But the whole purpose of the cuts is maintaining the viewers on suspense because they do not expect what comes next. One personally enjoyed the movie because one did not know what was going to happen next, In one’s opinion it was very intense but at the same time one could not keep eyes of it. Anybody that has bumped into this movie while browsing channels in the tv is drawn by it.

  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrdCC9ZHhwY
    Jump cuts. They are used in films. But they aren’t often used in many movies. Jump cuts from what I know is used in editing a film. That editing makes a jump cut. So when watching we see a time change in the scene. In this example of jump cut, its said that it’s a jump cut but it isn’t also. The clip opens up with thousands years in the past with ape throwing bones up high, then it cuts to thousands of years later. Where we see space and the earth and get the see the space station/ satellite. I say a reason why this jump cut has an impact. Is that it changes more the meaning on how far a jump cut can change in time. This one shows a really big jump for a reason to give a meaning behind. I think it to show with little time we has humans came too far. That’s could be the reason for the small clip of jump cut. This small clips really shows a lot with show little. Jump cuts are used in many things to convey meaning.
    Diamond post late!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. 21 jump street was just hilarious in general. I also agree in where the scene that Schmidt (Jonah Hill) starts talking about how he got lucky with a girl and everyone was cheering for him, even the chief who was played by Ice Cube. It then jumps to the scene where they where having family brunch at the school and the chief soon realized that Schmidt was getting freaky with her daughter and made a huge scene. That scene was one of many of my favorites in that movie. In general this movie was very enjoyably for me to watch and as well as entertaining.

  7. I agree with Jaleel as well. Jump street was an excellent film, filled with tons of action and amazing actors. What I like most about the film is the plot. Every scene within the film builds suspension and anxiety for the next. It puts the watcher on the end of their seat and makes them crave more. Like Jaleel said I don’t read many books, but I enjoy watching documentaries and movies where I can grab the same info. In my opinion, the jump cut technique is a great strategy to use in films when you want to capture multiple characters reactions.

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