Jean-Luc Godard

Filmmakers

Jean-Luc Godard (born December 3, 1930) is a French-Swiss film director, screenwriter and film critic. He rose to prominence as a pioneer of the 1960s French New Wave film movement (which also included Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy, Louis Malle, Chris Marker, Jean-Pierre Melville, Alain Resnais, Jacques Rivette, Éric Rhomer, Agnès Varda, and François Truffaut). During his early career as a film critic, Godard criticized mainstream French cinema’s “Tradition of Quality”, which emphasized established convention over innovation and experimentation. In response, he and like-minded critics began to make their own films. Many of Godard’s films challenge the conventions of traditional Hollywood in addition to French cinema.

Among his best known films are Breathless (1960), with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg; A Woman Is a Woman (1961), with Anna Karina, Belmondo and Jean-Claude Brialy; My Life to Live (1962), with Karina, Sady Rebbot, and André S. Labarthe; Contempt (1963), with Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, and Giorgia Mol; Band of Outsiders (1964), with Karina, Sami Frey, and Claude Brasseur; A Married Woman (1964), with Macha Méril; Alphaville (1965), with Eddie Constantine, Karina, Howard Vernon and Akim Tamiroff.

In 1964, Godard described his and his colleagues’ impact: “We barged into the cinema like cavemen into the Versailles of Louis XV.” He is often considered the most radical French filmmaker of the 1960s and 1970s; his approach in film conventions, politics and philosophies made him arguably the most influential director of the French New Wave. Along with showing knowledge of film history through homages and references, several of his films expressed his political views; he was an avid reader of existential and Marxist philosophy. Since the New Wave, his politics have been much less radical and his recent films are about representation and human conflict from a humanist, and a Marxist perspective.

Later films include King Lear (1987), with Burgess Meredith, Peter Sellars, Julie Delpy, Leos Carax, Molly Ringwald, Woody Allen, and Norman Mailer; Germany Year 90 Nine Zero (1991), with Eddie Constantine; Oh Woe Is Me (1993), with Gérard Depardieu; For Ever Mozart (1996), with Madeleine Assas, Ghalia Lacroix, and Frédéric Pierrot; In Praise of Love (2001), with Bruno Putzulu and Cecile Camp; Notre musique (2004), with Sarah Adler, Nade Dieu, George Aguilar, and Rony Kramer.

In a 2002 Sight & Sound poll, Godard ranked third in the critics’ top ten directors of all time (which was put together by assembling the directors of the individual films for which the critics voted). He is said to have “created one of the largest bodies of critical analysis of any filmmaker since the mid-twentieth century.”  He and his work have been central to narrative theory and have “challenged both commercial narrative cinema norms and film criticism’s vocabulary.” In 2010, Godard was awarded an Academy Honorary Award, but did not attend the award ceremony. Godard’s films have inspired many directors including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Brian De Palma, Steven Soderbergh, D. A. Pennebaker, Robert Altman, Jim Jarmusch, Wong Kar-wai, Wim Wenders, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • A Flirtatious Woman (1955) – short – as Hans Lucas
  • Operation Concrete (1958) – short
  • All the Boys Are Called Patrick (1959) – short
  • Breathless (1960)
  • Charlotte and her Boyfriend (1960) – short
  • A Story of Water (1961) – short – co- directed with François Truffaut – made in 1958
  • A Woman is a Woman (1961)
  • The Seven Deadly Sins (1962) – directed with Philippe de Broca, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy, Sylvain Dhomme, Max Douy, Eugène Ionesco, Edouard Molinaro, & Roger Vadim – anthology
  • My Life to Live (1962)
  • The Little Soldier (1963)
  • Ro.Go.Pa.G. (1963) – directed with Ugo Gregoretti, Pier Paolo Pasolini & Roberto Rossellini – anthology – Italy
  • The Carabineers (1963)
  • Contempt (1963)
  • Band of Outsiders (1964)
  • A Married Woman (1964)
  • Alphaville (1965)
  • Six in Paris (1965) – directed with Claude Chabrol, Jean Douchet, Jean-Daniel Pollet, Eric Rohmer, & Jean Rouch – anthology
  • Pierrot le Fou (1965)
  • Masculin Fémenin (1966)
  • Made in U.S.A. (1966)
  • Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967)
  • The Oldest Profession (1967) – directed with Claude Autant-Lara, Mauro Bolognini, Philippe de Broca, Franco Indovina, & Michael Pfleghar – anthology – France/Germany
  • The Chinese (1967)
  • Far from Vietnam (1967) – directed with Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Agnès Varda, Chris Marker and Alain Resnais – documentary
  • Weekend (1967)
  • Sympathy for the Devil (1968)
  • A Film Like Any Other (1968)
  • Love and Anger (1969)
  • Joy of Learning (1969)
  • British Sounds (1969) – co-directed with Jean-Henri Roger – TV movie
  • Wind from the East (1970) – uncredited co-director
  • Struggle in Italy (1971) – uncredited co-director
  • Vladimir and Rosa (1971) – uncredited co-director
  • 1 P.M. (1971) – documentary, co-director
  • Schick After Shave (1971) – short
  • Just Great (1972) – co-director
  • Letter to Jane: An Investigation About a Still (1972) – documentary, uncredited co-director
  • Number Two (1975)
  • How’s It Going? (1976) – co-director
  • Six Times Two/Over and Under the Media (1976) – TV documentary miniseries, co-director
  • Here and Elsewhere (1976) – documentary; co-director
  • Dream On (1977) – TV short
  • France/tour/detour/deux (1977-1978) – TV documentary miniseries, co-director
  • Every Man for Himself (1980)
  • Passion (1982)
  • First Name: Carmen (1983)
  • Hail Mary (1985)
  • Detective (1985)
  • King Lear (1987)
  • Keep Your Right Up (1987)
  • New Wave (1990)
  • Germany Year 90 Nine Zero (1991)
  • The Kids Play Russian (1993)
  • Oh Woe Is Me (1993)
  • JLG/JLG – Self-Portrait in December (1994) – documentary
  • For Ever Mozart (1996)
  • In Praise of Love (2001)
  • Our Music (2004)
  • Film Socialism (2010)
  • Goodbye to Language (2014)
  • The Image Book (2018)