I’ve previously discussed this DVD on the show, FAT, but I continue to promote it as it represents something more than just ‘another skate movie’ to me, as it captures the spirit and the unorthodox evolution of modern skateboarding.
The constant production and invariable outpour of skate videos courtesy of dominating skate brands such as Chocolate / Girl, that ressemble Hollywood blockbusters more than simple skate montages, have subsequently changed the way we watch skating and have inundated the market, making it harder for productions that come out of the lower budget core scene, to break into the market.
This is why Breathless struck such a cord with me. Filmed and produced by a young skater from Nantes, Arthur Bourdaud captures his friends from his town and all over France, following them from well known street rails and stairwells to hidden concrete DIY spots.
The beauty and originality of the film lies not uniquely in the skating or the various locations, but it’s varied shots filmed in 16mm and DIV-X cam. A veritable mix of 60′s style Endless Summer shots mixed with 90′s fish-eye, gives an original visual to Breathless. Arthur equally edited in some miscellaneous footage his grandparents had filmed in the 1960′s to some killer background music.
The construction of the DIY spot with concrete at Low Holly draws many similarities to Pontus Alv’s Strongest of the Strange, building their own minature park, complete with small quarter pipes, walls and a grindable bank in a neglected wasteland near Nantes.
The similarities with Pontus’s Strongest’ doesn’t stop at the location, upon the Arthur’s request, the Swedish skater sent some personal skate footage to contribute to the film, which, non-surprisingly fits perfectly into the montage, serving as a metaphoric pat of approval for skating’s new-school from the part of a former skate experimentalist.
Breathless isn’t a groundbreaking oeuvre that is out to change contemporary skating, it’s a simple reassurance that, despite all the big US budget productions and special effects that are currently overshadowing skateboarding, there is a core movement that’s quietly existing in small rural towns all over, which is keeping the scene underground.