Saturday, March 28, 2020

Comics in Film: Breathless

by BK Munn

Comics in Film: Jean-Paul Belmondo reads a September 1959 edition of the newspaper France-Soir while spying on his character's girlfriend (played by Jean Seberg) being questioned by the Paris police in Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (1960). Belmondo is on the run for killing a cop, and his face is on the front page of every newspaper in town, so of course he goes straight to a newsstand and buys a paper. On view are two comics, the U.S. strip "The Heart of Juliette Jones" by Stan Drake, and "13 rue de l'Espoir" by writers Jacques and François Gall and cartoonist Paul Gillon. Both strips are soap operas with female, "career girl" leads. If you squint, it's possible to read the chic Seberg character, a young American woman trying to land a job as a reporter in France and torn between two boyfriends, as a combination of Juliette Jones and Françoise Morel, the star of the French strip.  "13 rue de l'Espoir" ran for 13 years in France-Soir and was collected in two albums by Les Humanoïdes in the 1980s. Gillon (1926-2011) had a long career in bande dessinée, collaborating with Jean-Claude Forest on several series and creating a multitude of other books, Including The History of Socialism in France.