Pick from a Haggis
Foreign thieves, especially those speaking a romance language, have this magnetic hold on Americans—a magnetism that teeters between the north and south poles. For every second an American is uncontrollably drawn to said foreigner, the American also is repelled by an uncontrollable urge to “do the right thing.” And when a sexy foreigner with a sexy accent is involved, “the right thing” isn’t exactly black or white. But the 1960 cult classic Breathless is—black and white, that is. The film used that foreign-thief/ambivalent-American-magnetism formula to up the ante of French new wave cinema. It’s visually stunning, channels classic film personalities such as Humphrey Bogart and, thankfully, has a very un-American ending. The film was picked by filmmaker Paul Haggis, who will speak at the Mondavi Center Monday, May 11, at 8 p.m. If Breathless inspired this writer, director and producer’s back-to-back Academy Award winners for Best Picture (Crash and Million Dollar Baby), you know it’s got to be, well, breathless.