Paris A to Z: G is for…

G is for Jean-Luc Godard

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Jean-Luc Godard is a French-Swiss film director, best known for his non-traditional ventures into cinema in the 1960s. He was a part of the New Wave cinema, which drastically broke away from traditional movie plotlines. Part of my Paris In July Celebration is to watch one or two Godard films. I was hoping to have watched one by the time of this post, but that didn’t happen as planned.

Born: December 3, 1930, Paris France

Beginning with his groundbreaking 1959 feature debut A Bout de Souffle, Godard revolutionized the motion picture form, freeing the medium from the shackles of its long-accepted cinematic language by rewriting the rules of narrative, continuity, sound, and camera work. Later in his career, he also challenged the common means of feature production, distribution, and exhibition, all in an effort to subvert the conventions of the Hollywood formula to create a new kind of film. (NY Times)

While studying ethnology at the Sorbonne, Godard actually spent most of his time at the ciné-club with Francois Truffaut and Jacques Rivette, who would later be key elements in establishing the Nouvelle Vague movement in cinema.

The three created the Gazette du cinéma which ran for 5 issues. Godard wrote critical pieces often under the name Hans Lucas. He later wrote film criticism for Les Cahiers du Cinéma. He made his first French film in 1957, Tous les garçons s’appellent Patrick, but it wasn’t until Breathless (A Bout de Souffle) was created when his stardom rose and he became a major figure in the film industry’s New Wave direction.

Additional Resources

Filmography 

The Godard Experience – a well detailed media class webpage with information on Godard, includes a biographical timeline of his life up to 1970.

Jean-Luc Godard Official Website

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