Jean-Luc Godard, who has died aged 91, is the most famous film director to emerge in France as part of a new wave of the late 1950s. He and his colleagues reacted against the background. contemporary French cinema, which they consider to be the cinema de papa, sees it as a blemish compared to the more livelier Hollywood films that then began to move to France after being closed during the war.
His views were expressed by Godard, Claude Chabrol and Francois Truffaut in the journal Cinema Cahiers du. However, when they graduated to make their own movies, no one went down this route. Godard’s breakthrough, A Bout de Souffle (Breathless, 1960), established an entirely new formula, with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg pursuing an unsuccessful romance on the brink of society.
What stood out at the time was photographing the actual location in recognizable Parisian streets, looking as if it had been shot out of a cuff. Godard’s film also reflects the cult of je-m’en-foutisme, which ultimately, as if nothing, counts for anything.
However, this was merely the beginning of Godard’s unpredictable career. In 1961, he married Danish actress Anna Karina, and for a few years, until their divorce in 1967, they made some of the most moving and stylish films of early French cinema. 1960s, including Une femme est une femme (1961), Vivre sa Vie (1962), Alphaville and Pierrot le Fou (both 1965) and short Made in USA (In 1966).
These films became the second chapter of Godard’s film career. He then discovered Marxism and devoted his life to making films that embody dialectical materialism. They are becoming increasingly impregnable, and indeed intolerable to moviegoers who are not sympathetic to radical thought. Unsurprisingly, many films have been denied release and can only be viewed at out-of-theater screenings. Multiplayer is fast and loose with audience expectations. While acknowledging that every movie should have a beginning, middle, and end, he proves this by adding “but not necessarily in that order”.
His place in the history of cinema is still undecided. There is no doubt about the content and images of the first films with the participation of Karina. However, some feel that his later works sometimes extend loyalty beyond endurance. Many stories are abandoned in favor of random thoughts on a variety of topics. “I think of myself as an essayist,” he suggests, “offering essays in novel form or novels in essay form, and instead of writing them, I film them.”
Jean-Luc Godard was born on December 3, 1930 in Paris. The family is well-off: father is a doctor, mother is the daughter of a banker. During World War II, he obtained Swiss citizenship, but returned to Paris in the late 1940s and trained at the Lycee Buffon and later at the Sorbonne, where he studied ethnography.
At university, he befriended Truffaut, Chabrol, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer (all the latter leading the new wave). It’s all down to the influence of critic Andre Bazin, whose preference for motion cameras over editing (then called montage) has shaken a whole generation of film critics and filmmakers.
Godard’s Sorbonne studies were cut short because of a lack of parental support. When he learned that his son had sold his grandfather’s first editions to pay for movie theater visits and had taken driving classes at the Sorbonne, his father was quick to cut his money.
Godard’s first job was on a dam construction project in Switzerland, where he returned to attend his mother’s funeral after a car accident. The money he earned helped fund his early filmmaking experiments.
In 2010, he was awarded an honorary Oscar – “For passion. Confrontation. For a new kind of cinema”, the quote is read – but not there to take it, though Anne-Marie Mieville says old age is to blame, rather than any grudge against Hollywood .
Goodbye language (2014), a narrative about how their dog helps a couple communicate, saw Godard accept the jury award at Cannes, while the documentary Picture Book was selected to attend the 2018 Cannes festival and was awarded the special Palme d’Or.
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Jean-Luc Godard married first, Anna Karina (1961-65), and secondly Anne Wiazemsky (1967-69); Both marriages ended in divorce. He was then the partner of Anne-Marie Mieville, who survived. He has no children.
Jean-Luc Godard, born December 3, 1930, died September 13, 2022.
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https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/movie-news/obituary-jean-luc-godard-film-director-who-tore-up-the-rule-book-with-stylish-films-such-as-breathless-and-pierrot-le-fou-41997144.html Obituary: Jean-Luc Godard, the film director who tore the rulebook with stylish films like ‘Breathless’ and ‘Pierrot le Fou’