French-Swiss film director Jean-Luc Godard, the godfather of French New Wave cinema, died on Tuesday at the age of 91. The news of his death was confirmed by French media on Tuesday morning.
According to TBEN News, Godard is considered a key figure in the French New Wave movement. Different from earlier film styles, the movement emphasized realism in storytelling while integrating experimentation with editing techniques. Godard’s debut film ‘A bout de souffle (Breathless)’ made him one of the world’s most vital and provocative directors, both in Europe and beyond.
Jean-Paul Belmondo became famous thanks to his films. When Pope John Paul II condemned Godard’s controversial modern Nativity scene “Hail Mary” in 1985, it made headlines. In 1963, Godard collaborated with the iconic French actress Brigitte Bardot on the film Le Mepris (Contempt). According to Variety, Godard’s most ambitious project was his multi-part video project “Histoire(s) du Cinema” (1988-1998), an iconoclastic and highly personal exploration of the concept of cinema and its relationship to the twentieth century. His most recent films, “In Praise of Love” (2001) and “Notre musique” (2004), were critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival. When his “Film Socialism” was screened in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 2010, it provoked a more amused response; the highly experimental work ended with a title card that read ‘No Comment’, a statement reflected in Godard’s conspicuous absence from the festival.
However, Godard experienced a significant revival of his career at Cannes in 2014 with “Goodbye to Language”, in which he experimented with the 3D format while providing “a distinctively powerful, playful, biting commentary on everything from the state of films to the state of the world” as described by Variety’s Scott Foundas. It won the festival’s jury prize (shared with Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy”) and later won the Godard’s best film award, and its partner, Swiss director Anne-Marie Mieville, has worked closely together for the past 30 years of his life. .
Godard married Anna Karina, an actor who appeared in several of his films, in 1961. He married Anne Wiazemensky in 1965, after the couple’s divorce. Numerous filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino, were influenced by the legendary director.