Jean-Luc Godard

Director Profile

Born: 03 December, 1930
Country of Birth: France

I pity the French Cinema because it has no money. I pity the American Cinema because it has no ideas.

Biography

Born in France to a wealthy Swiss family, Jean-Luc Godard entered the Sorbonne to study ethnology, but instead spent his time in the Parisian Ciné Clubs, where he met François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer—the young turks of film criticism—who would later become some of the leading lights of the Nouvelle Vague or French New Wave. Deeply impressed by the movies of Renoir and Vigo, and well-versed in international film, Godard and his contemporaries espoused ‘auteur theory’ through the critical journal Cahiers du Cinéma - a theory which advocated the primacy of the director as the shaping force behind any film, such that the presence of the director is recognisable in themes that recur throughout his or her body of work. Moving into filmmaking themselves, they began to commit their critical theories to celluloid.

Making his feature debut in 1959 with À Bout de Souffle (Breathless), Godard, along with Truffaut and Claude Chabrol, revolutionized French cinema. Focussing on youth culture, shot quickly and on a low budget, À Bout de Souffle displayed Godard’s formal ingenuity, introducing such features as the jump cut, cinematic homages and the verité style, comtinuing to innovate with such films as the highly-structured and intertextual Vivre Sa Vie (film en douze tableaux) (1962), and the rowdy crime-musical Bande à Part (1964).

By the end of the 1960s he had redefined the protagonist, popularised hand-held camera and turned concepts of continuity editing on their head. Pierrot le Fou (1965) marked a turning point in Godard’s work; hence forward he would pursue ideological goals through overtly political films such as La Chinoise (1967) and Le Vent d’Est (The Wind from the East, 1968)—his Revolutionary period, marked by his membership of the Dziga Vertov Group, named after the iconoclastic Polish-born Soviet filmmaker.

His subsequent filmmaking falls into two distinct categories—the vidéoaste of the mid- to late 1970s and the contemplative essayist from then on. Though recent films have proven too obscure for most audiences, it is clear that Godard is an auteur intent on discovering the nature of film, and his prodigious sense of exploration has resulted in some of the best cinema ever made. Often hailed as the most significant of the French New Wave, Godard’s influence has reached as far as Altman, Scorsese, Jarmusch and Tarantino.

Available to Own

Paris Vu Par...

(DVD) - RELEASE DATE: 14/11/2007

In the 1960s, European cinema was undergoing enormous change. The Nouvelle Vague, or French... more »


Masculin Féminin

(DVD) - RELEASE DATE: 13/12/2006

Told in fifteen precise vignettes, Masculin Féminin follows the relationship between Paul... more »


A Beginner's Guide to Cinema

(DVD) - RELEASE DATE: 01/11/2007

Six all-time classic films available together for the first time. Showcasing six of the most important... more »

Filmography

Filmography to 1970:

1969 LE GAI SAVOIR
1969 AMORE E RABBIA (1969) - (segment "L'Amore")
1968 SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL (documentary)
1968 CINÉTRACTS (documentary short)
1968 UN FILM COMME LES AUTRES
1967 WEEK END
1967 LOIN DU VIETNAM (documentary, segment "Caméra-oeil")
1967 LA CHINOISE
1967 LE PLUS VIEUX MÉTIER DU MONDE (segment "Anticipation, ou l'amour en l'an 2000")
1967 2 Ou 3 Choses Que Je Sais D'elle
1966 MADE IN USA
1966 MASCULIN FÉMININ: 15 FAITS PRÉCIS
1965 PIERROT LE FOU
1965 PARIS VU PAR... (segment "Montparnasse-Levallois")
1965 ALPHAVILLE, UNE ÉTRANGE AVENTURE DE LEMMY CAUTION
1964 UNE FEMME MARIÉE: SUITE DE FRAGMENTS D'UN FILM TOURNÉ EN 1964
1964 LES PLUS BELLES ESCROQUERIES DU MONDE (segment "Grand escroc, Le")
1964 BANDE À PART (BAND OF OUTSIDERS)
1964 REPORTAGE SUR ORLY (documentary short)
1963 LE MEPRIS (CONTEMPT)
1963 LES CARABINIERS
1963 Ro.Go.Pa.G.(segment "Nuovo mondo, Il")
1963 LE Petit soldat
1962 VIVRE SA VIE
1962 THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS (segment " La Paresse ")
1961 A WOMAN IS A WOMAN
1961 UNE HISTOIRE D'EAU (short)
1960 CHARLOTTE ET SON JULES (short)
1960 A BOUT DE SOUFFLE (BREATHLESS)
1959 TOUS LES GARCONS S’APELLENT PATRICK (short)
1955 UNE FEMME COQUETTE (short)
1954 OPÉRATION BÉTON (documentary short)
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