halvert: i saw a bout de souffle(breathless) at a film fest some years back. can someone please educate me about how it changed cinema?
Godard pioneered the jump cut among other things with Breathless. Most Hollywood films show, say, a man getting into a car, the man starting the car, the man driving off; Godard would have the man touch the car door and cut to him driving off. It was a huge time and money saver and it removed all the boring parts, leaving in what interested him most. He also inserted quotes from favorite authors, short scenes by favorite filmmakers (Jean-Pierre Melville asked what he wanted to do most in life, and replying "to be immortal, and then to die.")--turned the cinema into a visual essay of sorts, to talk about and meditate on what struck him at the time, even if it had nothing to do with the plot.
Plus there was that breezy slightly melancholic tone, even if the most horrifying or hilarious things were happening--pure Godard.
You see the results of his filmmaking everywhere today; aside from Griffith (who pioneered the close-up, the iris, the fadeout, and parallel editing, among others), I think he's the most influential filmmaker who ever lived. Every MTV filmmaker and filmmaker who does things MTV-style owes something to Godard; Tarantino and all his imitators owe something to Godard. Even Brian De Palma owes something to Godard, especially in his early films.