Jean-Luc Godard, Daring Director Who Shaped the French New Wave, Dies at 91

“Jean-Luc Godard, the daringly innovative director and provocateur whose unconventional camera work, disjointed narrative style and penchant for radical politics changed the course of filmmaking in the 1960s, leaving a lasting influence on it, died on Tuesday at his home in the district of Rolle, Switzerland. He was 91. His longtime legal adviser, Patrick Jeanneret, said Mr. Godard died by assisted suicide, having suffered from ‘multiple disabling pathologies.’ … A master of epigrams as well as of movies, Mr. Godard once observed, ‘A film consists of a beginning, a middle and an end, though not necessarily in that order.’ In practice he seldom scrambled the timeline of his films, preferring instead to leap forward through his narratives by means of the elliptical ‘jump cut,’ which he did much to make into a widely accepted tool. But he never tired of taking apart established forms and reassembling them in ways that were invariably fresh, frequently witty, sometimes abstruse but consistently stimulating. As a young critic in the 1950s, Mr. Godard was one of several iconoclastic writers who helped turn a new publication called Cahiers du Cinéma into a critical force that swept away the old guard of the European art cinema and replaced it with new heroes largely drawn from the ranks of the American commercial cinema — directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks. When his first feature-length film as a director, ‘Breathless'(‘À Bout de Souffle’), was released in 1960, Mr. Godard joined several of his Cahiers colleagues in a movement that the French press soon labeled La Nouvelle Vague — the New Wave. For Mr. Godard, as well as for New Wave friends and associates like François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer, the ‘tradition of quality’ represented by the established French cinema was an aesthetic dead end. To them it was strangled by literary influences and empty displays of craftsmanship that had to be vanquished to make room for a new cinema, one that sprang from the personality and predilections of the director. …”
NY Times
BBC – Jean-Luc Godard: Nine things about the man who remade cinema
Guardian – Jean-Luc Godard: a genius who tore up rule book without troubling to read it
Criterion: Jean-Luc Godard (Video)
Film Comment – Interview: Jean-Luc Godard
W – Jean-Luc Godard

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