Films byTexts by Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard (1930) is a Swiss-French filmmaker, author, producer and film editor who came into the French limelight in the late 1950s and 60s as one of the nouvelle vague filmmakers. Like Éric Rohmer, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Jacques Rivette, Godard began his career in the 1950s as a film critic. He wrote for Gazette du cinéma, Cahiers du Cinéma and Arts. Godard’s most celebrated period as a director extends roughly from his first feature film À bout de souffle (1960) to Week-end (1967). In this period, his work focused on relatively conventional films, often referring to film history. The period between May 1968 and the 1970s was labelled as “militant” and “radical”, “Maoist” or just “political”. At that time, Godard consistenly used revolutionary rhetorics. In 1968, the Dziga Vertov Group was founded by Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin and other filmmakers. Their films were mainly defined by Brechtian forms, Marxist ideology and a lack of personal authorship. The group, named after the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov (1896-1954), dissolved soon after the completion of the film Letter to Jane (1972). In 1972, Godard and Swiss filmmaker Anne-Marie Miéville founded the alternative video production and distribution company Sonimage, producing both Numéro deux (1975) and Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1980). In 1976, Godard and his wife Miéville collaborated on a series of innovative video works for the European television broadcaster: Six fois deux/Sur et sous la communication (1976) and France/tour/détour/deux/enfants (1978). Godard’s return to more traditional fiction came with Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1980), the first of a series of more mainstream, autobographically inspired films such as Passion (1982), Lettre à Freddy Buache (1982) and Prénom Carmen (1984). To this day, Godard has been active as a filmmaker. Recent films include Film Socialisme (2010), Adieu au langage (2014) and Le livre d’image (2018).

FILM
Jean-Luc Godard, 1963, 102’

“When I think about it, Le mépris, seems to me, beyond its psychological study of a woman who despises her husband, the story of castaways of the Western world, survivors of the shipwreck of modernity who, like the heroes of Verne and Stevenson, one day reach a mysterious deserted island

FILM
Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Henri Roger, 1970, 52’

Filmed in the UK in 1969, this documentary by Godard and the Dziga Vertov Group represents an analysis of production and the status of women in capitalist society and a speculation about class consciousness and the need for political organization.

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Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1972, 95’

“Such, in its strange, timeless beauty, is the declaration of Godard’s film. ‘Everything’s all right’ is a statement whose creative force can be gauged by the fact that, in real life, it seems clear that everything is going to hell in a handbasket.

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Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Anne-Marie Miéville, 1976, 53’

« En 1968. pour la frange la plus radicalisée – la plus gauchiste – des cinéastes, une chose est sûre : il faut apprendre à sortir de la salle de cinéma (de la cinéphilie, de l'obscurantisme) ou la brancher au moins sur quelque chose d'autre. Et pour apprendre, il faut aller à l'école.

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Jean-Luc Godard, 1980, 87’

“Indeed, work becomes the film’s operative theme, as Isabelle explains to her sister what’s entailed in prostitution with terseness and a matter-of-fact procedure one might expect to find in any office manual.

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Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville, 1985, 52’

Jean-Luc Godard : C'est peut-être la différence entre l'un et l'autre par rapport à l'image. Moi, ce qui me plaît en elle est inaccessible et toi ce serait ce qui te gênerait… Faut-il montrer les choses?

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Jean-Luc Godard, 1985, 72’

« Comme le pain quotidien s’approche chaque jour de la bouche, il faudrait que le film rapproche le spectateur de son quotidien profond: aimer, donner la vie, la vivre, faire un enfant. C'est cela que représente Marie : elle est une image… Elle est une image vierge. Pas de traces.

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Jean-Luc Godard, 1988, 1998, 267’

“I think the best way to look at these programs is to enter into the image without a single name or reference in your head. The less you know, the better.”

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Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville, 1989, 50’

« On a fait un film avec Anne-Marie Mieville sur les établissements Darty, qui s’appelle Le rapport Darty. Il nous avait été commande par Darty. ils nous avaient dit : « On gagne trop d'argent, tout va trop bien, on perd la tête, on ne sait pas ce qui se passe..

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Jean-Luc Godard, 1988, 1998, 267’

“I think the best way to look at these programs is to enter into the image without a single name or reference in your head. The less you know, the better.”

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Jean-Luc Godard, 2018, 84’

“Do you still remember how long ago we trained our thoughts?

Most often we’d start from a dream...

We wondered how, in total darkness

colours of such intensity could emerge within us.

In a soft low voice