The revolutionary leader of the French New Wave of cinema, Jean-Luc Godard, passed away at age 91. With the 1960’s bout de souffle (Breathless), Godard made his cinematic debut and launched a string of critically acclaimed productions that completely altered the way movies were made. His work gave movies a fresh sense of vitality and audacity, and it had an impact on filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese.
Godard, according to French President Emmanuel Macron, “has the vision of a genius.” On Twitter, Mr. Macron paid tribute, writing: “He was like an apparition in French cinema. Then he became a master of it. Jean-Luc Godard, the most iconoclastic of New Wave filmmakers, invented a resolutely modern, intensely free art. We have lost a national treasure, a man who had the vision of a genius.”
Le Mépris (Contempt), Bande a Part (Band of Outsiders), and Alphaville were just a few of Godard’s influential films from the 1960s. Before taking the helm of the elegant and edgy Breathless, Godard worked as a cinema reviewer. The film’s actors, Jean Seberg, and Jean-Paul Belmondo were glamorous in a fresh, laid-back way, and the editing and dialogue were both semi-improvised.
In total, he directed more than 100 movies, including Week-end (1966), Masculin Féminin (1966), Pierrot le fou (1965), Une Femme Mariée (1964), and (1967). Even if his most recent work was published in 2018, some have argued that Godard’s career-long obscurity was intentional.