Jean-Luc Godard, the godfather of French New Wave cinema, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, according to Liberation, citing persons close to the Franco-Swiss director. Godard was one of the world’s most celebrated directors, well known for films like “Breathless” and “Contempt,” which pushed cinematic limits and inspired iconoclastic directors decades after his 1960s peak.
In 1960, his films defied established French cinema conventions and helped launch a new way of filmmaking, complete with handheld camera work, jump cuts, and existential dialogue. For many moviegoers, no words are adequate: Godard, with his tussled black hair and heavy-rimmed glasses, was a veritable revolutionary who elevated moviemakers to the level of master painters and literary icons.
Godard always played with the story like a champion football player. He dribbled it, kicked it around, defied the rules, experimented, and scored. In some circumstances, personal objectives. Many reviewers believe that his films following Weekend wandered into a Godardian wilderness that only he could manage. Many filmmakers and commentators attempted to chop their way through the dense jungle but were unsuccessful. But Godard, who always knew how to carve his own route, was conscious of the maze he had created and always found his way through it. After a while, everyone avoided the Godardian labyrinths, and some even yawned when one of his films was selected for festival screenings.
Quentin Tarantino, director of “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs” in the 1990s, is sometimes identified as part of a more recent generation of boundary-pushing filmmakers inspired by Godard and his Paris Left Bank companions. Martin Scorsese previously released “Taxi Driver” in 1976, a horrific neon-lit psychological thriller about a Vietnam veteran turned cabbie who drives through the streets all night with a growing passion for the desire to clean up dirty New York.
More about Godard
Godard was not everyone’s idol. At the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, wild-child Canadian director Xavier Dolan, 25, shared an award with an octogenarian Godard but dubbed him “the grinchy old man” and “no hero of mine.” On December 3, 1930, in Paris’s affluent Seventh Arrondissement, Godard was born into a privileged Franco-Swiss family. His father was a doctor, and his mother was the daughter of a Swiss man who created Banque Paribas, an important financial firm at the time.
His influence on India is enormous. Godard is responsible for all the bubbliness and mechanized jerkiness of current and shallow Bollywood. Godard shaped video art almost entirely on his own, and for that reason, music video producers like Baadshah and Honey Singh should, at the very least, read up on him.
Satyajit Ray even copied the dismal still shots at the end of his landmark Charulata from the French New Wave. Ray was also a big fan of Godard’s Breathless and was disappointed when he went off the rails after 1967. Truffaut had walked out of the theatre in disgust after seeing Indians eating with their hands while reviewing Pather Panchali at Cannes.
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