cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM Michael Woods on Godard’s Breathless




At the Movies


Michael Woods, LRB, Vol. 32 No 14 ,22 July 2010


Short, interesting, enjoyable.


Qu’est-ce que c’est degueulasse? Oz Skinner takes it on in his blog Godard Montage.


In Musings on Godard’s 1960 classic, Robert Stanley Martin says:

The film’s ending presents them as tragic figures who can’t even commit to their own tragedy; they can only go through the motions of that as well. Godard highlights that with the film’s handling of a single word: dégueulasse.



Qu’est-ce que c’est dégueulasse? Needs a little examining of course. Strangely my very old Cassell’s (1930 edition) has the verb degueuler, v.i. (vulg.), to spew, vomit, but no examples. Further checking shows a more polite rendering would be degoutant. dégueulasse is from degueuler, to puke, to spew, and degueuler from guele, mouth.


Now: dégueulasse


With a bit of reverse translation, there is another nub: rotten “C’est dégueulasse de faire une chose pareille.” That’s a rotten thing to do.


Pas dégueulasse – not half bad : “Pas dégueulasse ce petite vin de pays.”



And finally, WordReference has the sort of list in my post on Haneke’s Caché: dégueulasse, which is pasted in full to get an instant grab of:


dégueulasse adj (dégueu) icky
dégueulasse adj vulgaire (répugnant) offensive, repugnant, disgusting
dégueulasse adj très familier (sale, vicieux) filthy
dégueulasse adj (sale) yucky
dégueulasse adj (injuste) lousy
dégueulasse adj (sans valeur) lousy
dégueulasse adj (sans valeur) crappy
dégueulasse adj hateful, despicable
dégueulasse adj crude, vulgar
dégueulasse adj gross, vulgar
dégueulasse n (expression de dépit) barf


Why worry. Enjoy the film again as depicted by Warren Craghead



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April 12, 2012 - Posted by | Godard, Jean-Luc Godard, New Wave | , , ,

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