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German title Breathtaking
Original title Le Souffle
Country of production France
original language French
Publishing year 2001
length 77 minutes
Director Damien Odoul
script Damien Odoul
production Gérard Lacroix
camera Pascale Granel
cut Gwénola Héaulme

Breathtaking (Original title: Le Souffle ; German reference title: Tiefer Atem ) is a French black and white film by Damien Odoul from 2001. It is Odoul's first full-length production for the cinema after several short films and a TV production. The work, cast by amateur actors, was awarded two prizes at the Venice International Film Festival in 2001 and the Special Jury Prize at the Bratislava International Film Festival . The main actor Pierre-Louis Bonnetblanc received the Prix ​​Michel Simon .


15-year-old city dweller David spends his summer holidays on his uncles' remote farm in the French region of Limousin . On a hot day, he was accepted into the men's group for the first time with the traditional méchoui (roast lamb over an open fire) and experienced his first intoxication with alcohol.

In his intoxication, David vacillates between atavistic- metaphorical visions, boredom and raw reality, rebellion, anger, sexual desire and longing. On his way through the heat he meets Matthieu, whose sister he is in love with. Guided by his emotions, David commits an extreme act.


The script for the film was written within 17 days. The shooting in Limousin lasted five weeks, beginning in the summer of 2000. Odoul deliberately cast non-professional actors in the roles to ensure the highest possible authenticity. Odoul decided to shoot the film as a high-contrast black and white film, as this was "the only way to get back to both the cinematograph and our imaginary imagination".

Breathtaking was created with the support of the Center national du cinéma et de l'image animée and the Limousin region, but was realized without the support of a television station. The film was first released in France on November 7, 2001.


The New York Times described the work as a “ dreamy, lyrical black-and-white film that treads the permeable boundary between fantasy and reality ” (German: “ dreamy, lyrical black and white film that treads the permeable boundary between fantasy and reality ”). O. Bombarda ( ARTE ) admits that the film “hits exactly the right note in an extraordinary way”. "Damien Odoul can boast of having achieved something rare in feature films: Without break-ins, a complex and perfect balance was created between the pronounced aesthetics, the perfect beauty of certain shots and a component of the unreal, which is otherwise contrasted by rather harsh dialogues and statements. This created a renewed form of 'neorealism' - an amazing achievement for such a young filmmaker. "

Antonio Pasolini ( interprets Le Soufflewith its unapologetic artiness and aesthetic form, […] as an expressionist coming-of-age tale. It's soothing to see a film about teenage angst that doesn't use an urban setting or a drug-centric storyline […]. First and foremost an exercise in style, it's a visual tone-poem, but one with psychological depth and great visual flair. ”(German:“ with its uncompromising artistry and aesthetic form […] as an expressionist narrative of growing up. It's comforting to see a film about teenage angst that doesn't use an urban scenario or a drug-centered storyline […]. One Style exercise, it's a visual tone poem, but one with psychological depth and great visual flair. ")


Venice International Film Festival 2001

  • Special jury prize for contemporary cinema
  • FIPRESCI Prize ( Parallel Sections ), “ For his [Odouls] magical creation of a cinematographic universe

Bratislava International Film Festival 2001

  • Special prize from the jury
  • nominated for the Grand Prix

Acteurs à l'Écran 2002

  • Prix ​​Michel Simon (Best Actor) to Pierre-Louis Bonnetblanc


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ( Memento from July 21, 2012 in the web archive )
  2. ( Memento of the original from January 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /