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            Breathless is fundamentally about cowardliness, disloyalty, and the difficulty of being who we pretend to be. Both Michel and Patricia pretend to be things that they are not. Michel is a French man who desperately seeks to be American, which is one of the main reasons for his relationship with Patricia, and Patricia is an American woman that wants to be French. Michel idolizes Humphrey Bogart, who is a great American actor, and he even does things just like him. There is one scene where Michel stops and stares at a Humphrey Bogart poster in admiration. Throughout the movie he also continually rubs his lips with his fingers, which is something stolen right from Humphrey Bogart. Patricia does not know what the lip rubbing means at the end, which demonstrates that she tries to keep her self as far from American culture as possible and she wants, badly, to be French. .
             Why is it that although Michel is unambitious, unskilled and dishonest, the audience is able to ignore these traits and sympathize with him? The answer lies in the fact that he does everything with a bizarre style. He is open, flamboyant and cheerful, "you must never break," he says to the audience in the opening scenes of the film. All this is made more noticeable because the other characters are represented as lacking this style. This world that is immoral, senseless, and empty shows Michel creating his life and past. For example, he says he always stays at the Claridge and claims his grandfather drove a Rolls Royce. He is not preoccupied with the search for meaning and he is not afraid of the eventual nonexistence: Death. Patricia also recognizes the insignificance of existence but, unlike Michel, she is not capable of throwing herself into nothingness. She runs away from her identity and it is for this reason that Michel continuously calls her a coward. This cowardice comes to a pinnacle when, instead of escaping to Italy with him, she turns him in to the police.

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