Death of Jean-Luc Godard, director of Breathless and co-founder of the New Wave…

Death of Jean Luc Godard director of Breathless and co founder of

Franco-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard died on September 13 at the age of 91, Liberation announced. Co-founder of the New Wave film movement, he was the author of “A bout de souffle”, “Pierrot le fou”, “Alphaville” or “Le Mépris”.

Director ofBreathless and of Pierrot le fou, Jean-Luc Godard had won an Honorary Oscar, two Honorary Caesars, a Golden Bear and a Silver Bear in Berlin, a Golden Lion in Venice and in 2018 a special Palme d’Or. His death at the age of 91 was announced by Release this Tuesday, September 13.

The Notebooks of the Cinema

Jean-Luc Godard was born into a middle-class Franco-Swiss family. During the Second World War, he became a naturalized Swiss. He began his studies in Lyon before returning to Paris in 1949 where he obtained a master’s degree in Ethnology at the Sorbonne. It was during this time that he met Francois Truffaut, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer. With the last two, he founds The cinema gazettethen becomes critical at Arts and to Cinema notebooks.

The new wave

In 1954, he took his first steps behind the camera with his short film concrete operation. It was not until 1959 that he made his first feature film, Breathlessa big critical and public success, which will be the flagship film of the New Wave.

This is the start of a series of films in which Godard thinks about cinema by reinventing the narrative form: A woman is a woman, The Little Soldier (censored because it openly addressed the Algerian War, a taboo subject at the time), The Carabinieri, Contempt, Pierrot le fou, Alphaville, a strange adventure of Lemmy Caution and Male Female. He also participates in collective films: The most beautiful scams in the world and Paris seen by….


May 68: Godard is an active militant and his cinema becomes a means of fighting against the system (The Chinese, Weekend). He advocates an idealist cinema that would allow the proletariat to obtain the means of production and distribution.

He then went abroad (New York, Canada, Cuba, Italy, Prague) where he began films that he would not finish or that he would refuse to see broadcast (One American Movie, Communication(s), British Sounds , Lotte in Italy). The 70s are those of video experimentation: Number two, Here and elsewhere, Jean-Luc six times two -over and under communication.

Scandal and stars

In 1980, he returned to a more mainstream cinema which attracted renowned actors. He finds himself selected at the Cannes festival three times, for Save who can live (1980, with Isabelle Huppert and Jacques Dutronc), Passion (1982) and Detective (1985 with Johnny Hallyday), and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Name Carmen (which reveals Maruschka Detmers). But his films continue to cause scandal: I salute you marie is censored in France and around the world.


Godard returns to experimentation in the 90s: JLG/JLG, For Ever Mozart, History(ies) of cinema (a filmed and personal vision of the history of cinema) and praise of lovepresented in competition on the Croisette in 2001.

The filmmaker made his return there three years later with Our music, triptych on Hell, Purgatory and Paradise presented in the official Out-of-competition selection. This is Godard’s eighth visit to Cannes.

At the beginning of the 21st century, he appeared in two films in which he played himself (The Ghost of Henri Langlois of Jacques Richard (II) and Pieces of conversations with Jean-Luc Godard of Alain Fleischer), before being talked about again on the Croisette with his Movie Socialismselected in the Un certain regard 2010 section.

3D test and late Cannes consecration

Aged over eighty, the filmmaker is rare in the cinematographic landscape, but much less in the aisles of the Cannes Film Festival. He directed “3-Désastres”, one of the three segments of the enigmatic 3x3D (2012), which scrutinizes the perception of 3D, presented at the end of the 52nd Semaine de la Critique at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Thirteen years later praise of loveJean-Luc Godard made his comeback in Cannes competition in 2014 with Farewell to Language, his sixth film to compete for the Palme d’Or. He won the Jury Prize ex-aequo with Mommy by Xavier Dolan.

In 2018, he presents in Cannes The picture book and gives a press conference without leaving his native Switzerland, using Facetime technology. His film won a Special Palme d’or, a first in the history of the festival.

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