The decade of the 1960s saw some really, really great movies, which are now regarded as classics of filmmaking. 60s saw the release of famous classics like ‘Psycho’, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘The Graduate’, ‘The Apartment’ and many more. But apart from the above, the decade also saw a rise in the general quality of international cinema; it was the decade where international cinema started achieving new heights with audacious and innovative filmmaking by the grandmasters of cinema. In this article, we list ten movies of the 60s which are a must watch for any cinema lover.
1. Breathless (1960)
The first film by the legendary French filmmaker Jean Luc Godard, ‘Breathless’, was one of the first films of the French New Wave. It is a highly influential work of art, both cool and daring. ‘Breathless’ was well and truly ahead of its time. Renowned for its brash use of jump cuts, the film was widely praised at the time of its release and is credited to have changed the grammar of narrative structure. However, several critics and film aficionados couldn’t really digest the film’s rebellious tone and to this day, it remains one of the most widely debated and dissected films.
‘Breathless’ is more of an attitude. It’s a film that defined the word cool and set the trend for an entire new generation of filmmakers who would go on to push the boundaries of cinema in ways you had never seen before. To be honest, I myself was put off by the film’s overall style and attitude. But something about it made me think more and more about the style and visual aesthetics. The story, like most Godard movies, is a mere instrument to explore his philosophy on marriage, relationships and society. It is evidently self-indulgent, but that is exactly what makes the film so wildly entertaining. ‘Breathless’ is a film that brilliantly manages to encapsulate the sprawling cinematic vision of Jean Luc-Godard. The final shot of the film speaks volumes and is perhaps one of the most iconic images in cinematic history.
Coming to the performances, both Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg are amazing in the lead roles and deliver tone-defining performances. I truly cannot imagine the film without them. It’s one of those magical moments where the actors are just sucked into the vision of the filmmaker. Though ‘Breathless’ may not seem particularly accessible for someone who’s unfamiliar with Godard’s works, I still think it’s the perfect entry point that helps one gain insight into the maverick filmmaker’s mind. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Wong kar-Wai have cited Godard as a major influence and ‘Breathless’ is one of the master’s many works that inspired these filmmakers to defy the traditions of the art form.