Category Archives: Pop Culture

Did Jean-Paul Belmondo invent the high-five in ‘Breathless’?

A couple years ago, ESPN wrote about the person who invented the high five, “the celebratory hand gesture that occurs when two people simultaneously raise one hand, about head-high, and push, slide, or slap the flat of their palm against the flat palm of the other person.” (Wikipedia)

As contenders for the title, the article mentions Magic Johnson and throws out a couple athletes’ names – Glen Burke, the elusive “Lamont Sleets” (name in quotes because it was a hoax associated with National High Five Day) and the 1978-79 Louisville basketball team.

But it doesn’t mention Jean-Paul Belmondo, the French actor associated with the New Wave cinema in the early 1960s. Here then, via two Breathless screen caps taken from a recent screening on a small TV, is proof that he deserves consideration. Two French men high-fiving on a Paris street in 1960, witnessed by an American, no less – the ethereal Jean Seberg. (It’s the scene toward the end where Belmondo’s associate, the guy with the camera, criticizes Belmondo, who’s on the run from police, for wearing silk socks with a tweed outfit.)

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