Influential French film director Jean-Luc Godard dead at 91

Director Jean-Luc Godard, godfather of French New Wave cinema, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, Liberation newspaper and other French media reported, citing relatives of the filmmaker. film.

Godard is one of the most famous directors in the world, known for classics like Breathless and Contemptuousthis pushed cinematic boundaries and inspired iconic directors decades after his 1960s heyday.

His films broke the established conventions of French cinema and helped launch a new way of filmmaking, complete with handheld camera work, cutscenes and existential dialogue.

Godard once said, “It’s not where you get things – it’s where you take them,” Godard once said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a tweet, said: “We are losing a national treasure.”

The face of the New Wave movement

Godard is not alone in creating the French New Wave, a credit he shares with at least a dozen colleagues including Francois Truffaut and Eric Rohmer, most of whom are friends from the Left Bank of Paris during the period. bohemian, bohemian in the late 1950s.

Godard was seen in March 1960 with actress Jean Seberg, co-star of Breathless. (AFP/Getty Images)

However, he became the face of the movement, spawning many branches in Japan, Hollywood and, unsurprisingly, in then Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia, as well as in Brazil.

“We owe him a lot,” former French Culture Minister Jack Lang wrote in an emailed statement to Reuters. “He filled cinema with poetry and philosophy. His sharp and unique eye made us unrecognizable.”

Among those he influenced were American directors Martin Scorcese and Quentin Tarantino.

British director Edgar Wright, on Twitter on Tuesday said, “probably no other director has inspired so many people to just pick up the camera and start shooting.”

Godard was born into a wealthy Franco-Swiss family on December 3, 1930 in Paris. His father was a doctor, his mother the daughter of a Swiss man who founded Banque Paribas, then an illustrious investment bank.

This upbringing contrasted with his later pioneering ways. Godard fell in love with like-minded people who were dissatisfied with comedies that never deviated from convention that seeded a secessionist movement known as the Nouvelle Vague.

‘Sometimes reality is too complicated’

With a more forthright, upbeat approach to sex, violence and exploration of counterculture, anti-war politics and other changes, New Wave is about innovation in filmmaking.

“Sometimes reality is too complicated,” says Godard.

After making two films by Jacques Rivette and Rohmer in 1951, Godard attempted to direct his first film while traveling through North and South America with his father, but never finished.

Back in Europe, he took a job in Switzerland as a construction worker on a dam construction project. He used the pay to finance his first complete film in 1954, Working concretea 20-minute documentary about the construction of the dam.

Returning to Paris, Godard worked as a spokesman for an artist company and made his first work in 1957 – All the boys are called Patrickreleased in 1959 – and continued to hone his writing.

He also started working on Breaths, based on a story by Truffaut. This was Godard’s first major success when it was released in March 1960.

It stars Jean-Paul Belmondo as a penniless young thief who models himself for gangsters in Hollywood movies and, after shooting a policeman, runs off to Italy. with his American girlfriend, played by Jean Seberg.

In 1961, Godard married Danish-born model and actress Anna Karina, who appeared in a string of films he made throughout that decade, including My life to live, Alphaville and Crazy Pete – the film also stars Belmondo and is rumored to be shot without a script. His marriage to Karina ended in 1965.

In Weekend, his characters shed light on the hypocrisy of bourgeois society even as they demonstrate the comic futility of violent class warfare. It came a year before public anger over the establishment rocked France, culminating in the iconic student unrest in May 1968.

Godard was shown between Bill Wyman, left, and Mick Jagger while directing Sympathy for the Devil, on July 30, 1968. (Huton Archive / Getty Images)

That same year, he directed an experimental documentary featuring the Rolling Stones, Concurred with the devil.

Godard also hinted at a career-long involvement in collective film projects, with directors such as Roger Vadim, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Roberto Rossellini.

Movies with political themes

He transitioned to directing left-wing, anti-war political films during the 1970s. His controversial modern play Nativity Best regards, Maria made headlines when Pope John Paul II denounced it in 1985.

Godard has cultivated a lifelong empathy for the various forms of socialism depicted in films from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. In December 2007, he was approved by the Academy. European Cinema honored with a lifetime achievement award.

Godard, who appeared at the 50th Cannes Film Festival in France in 1997, rarely ventures outside of Europe to work. (Beautiful pictures)

Godard has been shooting casual shots in Hollywood over the years.

He remained at home in Switzerland instead of going to Hollywood to receive the prestigious Oscar at a private ceremony in November 2010 with film historian and conservationist Kevin Brownlow, director and producer Francis Ford Coppola and Actor Eli Wallach.

Recent works, however – among them Goodbye language in 2014 and Picture Book in 2018 – more experimental and shrunk the audience mostly Godard lovers.

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