Home Films Jean-Luc Godard, flagship director of the New Wave, died at the age of 91

Jean-Luc Godard, flagship director of the New Wave, died at the age of 91


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PARIS, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Director Jean-Luc Godard, godfather of the French New Wave, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, the newspaper Liberation and other French media reported.

Godard was one of the world’s most acclaimed directors, known for classics such as “A bout de souffle” and “Contempt,” which pushed cinematic boundaries and inspired iconoclastic directors decades after his 1960s heyday.

His films broke with the established conventions of French cinema and helped launch a new way of making films, with handheld camera work, jump cuts and existential dialogue.

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For many cinephiles, no praise is high enough: Godard, with his tousled black hair and thick-rimmed glasses, was a true revolutionary who made artists out of filmmakers, putting them on a par with the masters. painters and literary icons.

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

Godard was not alone in creating the French New Wave, a credit he shares with at least a dozen peers, including François Truffaut and Eric Rohmer, mostly hip, bohemian Left Bank pals from Paris to the late 1950s.

However, he became the child star of the movement, which spawned offshoots in Japan, Hollywood and, more unlikely, in what was then communist-ruled Czechoslovakia as well as Brazil.

“We owe him a lot,” former French culture minister Jack Lang wrote in an emailed statement. “He filled cinema with poetry and philosophy. His sharp and unique eye made us see the imperceptible.”

Quentin Tarantino, director of the cult films “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs” of the 1990s, is part of a more recent generation of filmmakers who have taken up the torch of the tradition of going beyond borders initiated by Godard and his acolytes of the Left Bank of Paris.

Earlier came Martin Scorsese in 1976’s “Taxi Driver,” the disturbing neon-lit psychological thriller about a Vietnam veteran-turned-cab driver who drives the streets through the night with a growing obsession with the need to clean up the environment. seedy state of New York.

Godard was not everyone’s idol. Canadian wild children director Xavier Dolan, who at 25 shared an award with an octogenarian Godard at the 2014 Cannes festival, courted controversy just as much as Godard, but called him “the grumpy old man” and “none of my heroes”. “.


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

This upbringing contrasted with his later pioneering ways. Godard came across like-minded people whose dissatisfaction with mundane films that never deviated from convention sowed the seeds of a dissident movement that came to be called the New Wave.

With its more outspoken and offbeat approach to sex, violence, and its explorations of counterculture, anti-war politics, and other changing mores, the New Wave was about innovation in filmmaking.

Godard was one of his most prolific peers, producing dozens of short and feature films over more than half a century from the late 1950s.

“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it shape,” Godard said.

Most of her most influential and commercially successful films were released in the 1960s, including “Vivre Sa Vie”, “Pierrot le Fou”, “Two or Three Things I Know About Her” and ” Weekend”.

He moved on to making films steeped in leftist anti-war politics in the 1970s before returning to a more commercial mainstream. Recent works, however – among them 2014’s Au Revoir au Langage and 2018’s Le livre d’images – were more experimental and largely reduced audiences to Godard geeks.

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Reporting by Brian Love, additional reporting by Ingrid Melander, Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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