Mac-Mahon Cinema

Movie Breathless (1960)
Patricia enters the Mac-Mahon cinema to escape the police. An establishment that Jean-Luc Godard knows well.
Intérieur du cinéma Mac Mahon, à Paris (LoisPettini / CC BY-SA 4.0)
Intérieur du cinéma Mac Mahon, à Paris (LoisPettini / CC BY-SA 4.0)

“The cities where the girls are pretty, not gorgeous, but like you, charming, girls who rate eight on a scale of 10, because they have a certain something… aren’t Rome or Paris or Rio, but Lausanne and Geneva.”

Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo)

The Mac-Mahon cinema: single room and American films

In order to escape the police pursuing her, Patricia (Jean Seberg) enters this Parisian cinema. With its only auditorium, its programming is focused on American films that were banned during the German occupation.

In this scene of Breathless, we can also see the poster of the film The Long Gray Line directed by John Ford.

Jean-Luc Godard and the mac-mahonian movement

Jean-Luc Godard did not choose this cinema by chance to shoot his film. The director is assisted by Pierre Rissient, one of the leaders of the mac-mahonian movement, whose spirit is to leave more room for the mise en scène than for the script.

Émile Veillon, the owner of the Mac-Mahon cinema and his cashier also appear on screen as extras.


Jim McBrid directed a remake of the film Breathless, made in the USA with Richard Gere and Valerie Kaprisky in 1983.

Cinéma Mac-Mahon

Opened in 1938, the Mac-Mahon cinema is located in the 17th arrondissement of Paris.

It was in the 1950s that a group of cinephile friends was formed. Bertrand Tavernier and Pierre Rissient were among them. For these film buffs, known as MacMahonians, perfection was embodied by only four directors: Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger, Raoul Walsh and Joseph Losey.

In this cinema, in addition to the programming around American films, the current owners offer Art et Essai films.

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Les années Cahiers - Godard

Les Années Cahiers (French Edition)

During his studies in anthropology at the Sorbonne, Jean-Luc Godard assiduously attended the film clubs of the capital. He became friends with André Bazin, Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette and Éric Rohmer….

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By Damien Canteau

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

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