Roman Holiday, Hiroshima Mon Amour, and Breathless are three timeless films that showcase the beauty of European scenery and the depth of human emotion. Roman Holiday is a romantic comedy that captures the charm of Audrey Hepburn and the beauty of Rome. Hiroshima Mon Amour is a haunting exploration of memory and trauma, set in the aftermath of the atomic bomb. Finally, Breathless is a groundbreaking crime drama that ushered in the French New Wave movement with its innovative editing and unconventional camera work. So, here is the list of the best Timeless Romance and Tragedy.
Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953)
The tale of a princess and an almost beggar was filmed in Rome, so it is saturated with non-Hollywood spontaneity and the Italian sun. Princess Anne, on a tour of European capitals with politically correct answers to journalists’ questions, forcibly eats cookies with milk at night and curses her origins. After a tantrum, she is fed sleeping pills, and sleep overtakes the runaway princess near one of the fountains. There she is mistaken for a drunkard and taken home by a card player and an overly handsome American journalist who does not meet deadlines.
He will not tell her that he knows very well who she is hiding from. She will not explain her origin – and both will leave an unfinished novel in a taxi on one of the narrow Roman streets. Roman Holiday is one of the warmest films about liberation. From the grip of an editor or a royal schedule. About the walking wind in your hair.
“Hiroshima Mon Amourr”, Alain Resnais, 1959
The classic half-century-old melodrama by Alain Resnais, written by Marguerite Duras, is still a guide to creating a visually flawless and simple film. That contains several layers: the personal, and the politics are deliberately intertwined here frame by frame. A French actress falls in love with a Japanese architect in Hiroshima. A decade after the nuclear bombing. They break up after a brief crush. And each relates to the place and history in completely different ways.
For her, Hiroshima is the collapse of civilization and a symbol of a tragic end, for him. It is a moment of personal biography: his family is from here. And he himself once served in the Japanese army on the side of the defeated. Living through the tragedies of war and embedding past memories into present feelings is at the heart of one of the major debuts in film history. A must-have classic of the 20th century.
Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard, 1960
A decent American from the Sorbonne meets a really bad guy. Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo star in Godard’s Truffaut-scripted debut, about a con man who charms a foreign woman and plans to escape to Italy after his final venture. The liberating camera watches them on the Champs-Elysées and the streets of the Marais. Their spontaneous movements and not thoughtful dialogues. 55 years later, Breathless is still a textbook for the perfect debut with a small budget. Two amazing protagonists, a cannon. And a small extra from which a universal story grows before our eyes. Godard’s sense of cinema and movement out of the blue made him a cultural hero of the ’60s. And gave a fresh take on the banal tale of a would-be swindler.
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