Monday, 15 May 2023
5:00-6:40 pm Paris time
The Ultimate "Cinema-Man" of the 1960s
with Sylvie Koneski
Jean-Luc Godard was the most influential French filmmaker of the modern era, and one of the most irreverent. The French-Swiss writer-director, who died in 2022, aged 91, was driven to experiment with the medium in ways that no one had ever tried before. His first major film, Breathless (1960) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, is “the definitive manifesto of the French New Wave” in which Godard launched his revolutionary artistic approach.
Our lecture will take us though the radical evolution of his cinema in the 1960s with Le petit soldat (1963), which evoked the Algerian war and featured torture scenes, the first of seven films with his fetish actress, Anna Karina, Pierrot le fou (1965), a Rimbaldian road movie about a couple on the run, Contempt (1963), featuring Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli, his most beautiful and enduring film and La Chinoise (1967) with Marxist-Leninist speeches, syncopated editing and militant actors. After May 1968 Godard founded a Maoist film collective, the Dziga Vertov Group. In Tout va bien (1972), Jane Fonda, a reporter and Yves Montand, her husband, are kidnapped by striking workers. We will end by having a look at his very last productions, Histoire(s) du cinéma an eight-part video project, Goodbye to Language (2014), Godard’s first 3D feature, and The Image Book (2018).
Godard’s legacy is considerable and multi-faceted. Uniquely among filmmakers, he was the director who was also theorist, critic, experimentalist: the first in the medium’s history to think about what cinema was and what it meant.
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