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Godard, Jean-Luc


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#1 Duke Togo

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 10:35 PM

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Jean-Luc Godard
A former Cahiers Du Cinema critic along with Truffaut, Chabrol, and Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard emerged as the most radical and experimental figure of the French New Wave. Beginning with Breathless in 1960, his early films were marked by genre deconstruction and a sense of cinematic experimentation concentrating later on highly political social commentaries following his divorce from his muse, lead actress, and wife Anna Karina. Godard made a career out of pushing the limits both artistically and politically, and in 1968 after making his fifteenth picture in half as many years, he rejected the notion of "narrative cinema" altogether, electing instead to make sharp, essayistic Maoist polemic films with Jean-Pierre Gorin as the "Dziga Vertov Group". After a period of obscurity, he re-emerged in the 1980s, and has since continued to make films that challenge and enlighten viewers worldwide. - helloemigoodbye

Recommended Films:
Breathless (1960)
Band Of Outsiders (1964)
Pierrot Le Fou (1965)

#2 helloemigoodbye

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 10:45 PM

For people interested in Godard but unsure where to start, I would recommend starting the way I started, with a Breathless/Band Of Outsiders double feature, then slicing your way through his films with Anna Karina, because they are all excellent and a lot of fun. His political films from the later 60s are somewhat tougher to swallow, and I would suggest diving headfirst into them with the most radical one, Week End. IMO, Pierrot Le Fou is his masterpiece, an absolute work of genius, and you mustn't miss it no matter what.
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#3 Duke Togo

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 10:45 PM

I have yet to see anything outside Criterion, but I would recommend Breathless, Band of Outsiders, and Pierrot le fou first. I am on the fence for Alphaville, and I hesitate to recommend Tout va bien as a first Godard. He is certainly one of the more interesting directors, specifically with his style and the ideas he comes up with. Godard is always fun. :D

#4 helloemigoodbye

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 08:25 AM

I hope Criterion picks up some of his second wave films from the 80s from New Yorker, since it's shutting down. I've only been able to access his 60s stuff and some Dziga Vertov group stuff, and based on that stuff, he's my favorite filmmaker by far, so naturally I'm really curious about his later work. Godard's Second Wave would make an awesome Eclipse set...
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#5 bobham80

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 06:57 AM

There are 3 distinct Godard period's. I have not wanted to explore one period without getting to know the work of the early Godard. From the early period up until weekend I have seen a total of 10 Godard films. Finally I have decided that I wanted to travel past the 60's Godard, skip the Dziga Vertov Group period and move into the 80's. I have Passion and First Name: Carmen coming to me via netflix. Any body have any later Godard films they want to recommend?

#6 sexy rancheros

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 02:08 PM

I heard Hail Mary is very good 80's Godard.
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#7 helloemigoodbye

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 03:38 PM

Any body have any later Godard films they want to recommend?


I watched Keep Your Right Up this morning. It was highly abstract thematic sketches mostly dealing with characters struggling to understand their "Place On Earth" revolving around Godard's narrations (mostly musings on Life and Death), akin to 2 Or 3 Things I Know About Her, though somewhat less organized. Jean-Luc himself plays a pretty funny character, and the film certainly has its moments, but largely of this particular variation of Godard cinema (the sketch/essay type film), 2 or 3 Things is much stronger in terms of subject matter and execution. Keep Your Right Up is an interesting film, but I wouldn't call it one of his essentials.

Not exactly a recommendation, I know, but I hope it provides some insight.
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#8 RodneyOz

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 09:25 AM

Hmm, just how many periods has Godard had in his career... let's see, there's the 60s stuff that everybody and Criterion likes, up to say Weekend.

Then there's the heavily political and/or theoretical work, Le Gai Savior through to Letter to Jane and including the Dziga Vertov stuff (four or five of which are now on ubu.com I see!).

I'd add another separate period for his work on then-new video technology and his two French TV series of the mid-70s as they're quite different in concern to the Vertov period.

THEN there's the "hey I can make films that are watchable and often funny" comeback (do I just have a weird sense of humour? Does nobody else find films like Slow Motion, First Name Carmen, Keep Your Right Up and Hail Mary to be utterly hilarious and FUN much of the time, as well as opaque and baffling in other sections?) through most of the eighties, spluttering to a halt around the time of King Lear.

Finally there's the (IMO) interesting-on-paper-but-quite-a-slog 'late period' of encapsulating everything that's come before, with often tedious results in the fiction features but utter brilliance in the documentary work of 2x50 and (especially) Histories du Cinema.

#9 pigmode

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 11:45 AM

I've never really connected with Breathless and Peirrot le Fou. Instead, I've found Vivre sa Vie to be the most brilliant of his films. Band Of Outsiders and An Unmarried Woman are favorites as well. There is a powerful sense of humanism in Vivre sa Vie (which I would tend classify as a tragedy), that I find distinctly lacking in most of his films.
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#10 sexy rancheros

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 03:57 AM



Sorry, there's no subtitles, but I don't think it really matters since it's fucking incredible.
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#11 Lohengrin

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 08:27 PM

Sorry, there's no subtitles, but I don't think it really matters since it's fucking incredible.


Word. One of my favorite works by Godard, short or feature. I remember it having some suggestive content, so if the edition up on youtube doesn't last long, it's up on Dailymotion as well (no subtitles either).

Glad you agree about how fucking amazing it is. I hope more people watch this.

Kiss my ass


#12 sexy rancheros

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 09:41 PM

Yeah, I've been obsessed with it for the last couple of days. I think it might be my favorite film by him.

Also, if anybody hasn't seen this, here's a trailer for a recent film festival he made:

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#13 helloemigoodbye

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 12:15 PM

I noticed something that often features in Godard's films, that I'll call the "ask-an-expert" segment, where in a given Godard film (particularily from his 60s period) he'll have a segment in the film where he has the characters meet some expert in a given field or other special guest star, and they have a short philosophical dialogue which somehow relates to the film, for example:

Jean-Pierre Melville in Breathless
Bruce Parain in Vivre Sa Vie
Fritz Lang in Contempt
Roger Leenhart in Une Femme Mariée
Sam Fuller in Pierrot Le Fou
The "Miss 19" segment of Maculin Féminin
The Nobel Prize Winner in 2 or 3 Things

Just an interesting thing I noticed
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#14 Jon Dambacher

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 02:09 PM



Sorry, there's no subtitles, but I don't think it really matters since it's fucking incredible.


Thank you for posting this. I've never seen it.
This, again, fits perfectly into the suggestion I wrote here: http://www.criterion...amp;#entry15131

#15 helloemigoodbye

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 05:20 PM

Hey, anyone else from New York on this board should mark your calendars for Two In The Wave. It's a documentary about the rocky friendship between Godard and Truffaut and how JP Léaud was caught in the crossfire. It looks really neat, and its coming to film forum next month!

http://www.filmforum...ointhewave.html
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#16 Lohengrin

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 08:22 PM

I felt like encouraging Godard fans to see some of my favorites of his lesser-known work:

JLG/JLG - autoportrait de décembre (1995) - A self-reflexive work detailing Godard himself at home, looking at life itself. It's extremely beautiful.

Numéro deux (1975) - A detailed inner look at a dysfunctional family told entirely through images of TV screens playing various footage in dark rooms.

The Old Place (1998) - Similar and just as great as much of Histoire(s) du cinéma, which is the highest praise.

Liberté et patrie (2002) - As above, but with different themes.

Children Play Russian (1993) - A tribute and history (à la Histoire(s) cu cinéma) of Russia, told through the various means Godard always employs.

Germany Year 90 Nine Zero (1991) - Another elegy to a country like the above, but this one is more narrative (meaning the narrative is still quite loose). It also has the character of Lemmy Caution from Alphaville make a return.

France/tour/détour/deux/enfants (1977) - A miniseries that interviews various children. One of Godard's closest ventures into a typical documentary style, which is very well accomplished and retains all of his style.

Soft and Hard (1985) - Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville are at home being themselves, and talking about their work among other things. It's the same sort of thing Pedro Costa later did in his documentary on Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet entitled Où gît votre sourire enfoui? (which is highly recommended).

Nouvelle vague (1990) - Extremely hard to summarize, but actually less abstract than the ones above. It's a film that examines the relationship between text and visuals, contrasting two stories between the two. Still, it's not the easiest film to grasp all at once.

Kiss my ass


#17 helloemigoodbye

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 08:25 PM

I've seen most of the dziga vertov group stuff, the rest of these are even harder to find! i desperately would like to though...
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#18 Lohengrin

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 02:10 PM

Forgot to mention this yesterday, but Soft and Hard is on YouTube, France/tour/détour/deux/enfants is on UBUWeb, there's a two-disc French set of Nouvelle vague and Passion with English subtitles, and a set of Godard/Miéville shorts in the UK (including L'origine du XXIème siecle, The Old Place, Liberté et patrie, and Je vous salue, Sarajevo). The last one isn't cheap, but trust me, it's worth it.

Kiss my ass


#19 Opale

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 05:45 PM

France/tour/détour/deux/enfants (1977) - A miniseries that interviews various children. One of Godard's closest ventures into a typical documentary style, which is very well accomplished and retains all of his style.

They didn't mention if the children committed suicide after those questions :)

#20 Opale

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 05:33 AM

France/tour/détour/deux/enfants is on UBUWeb

I didn't know that site, is there any other interested things?




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