Legendary Filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard Dies Aged 91

Jean-Luc Godard

by Ben Travis |
Published on

French-Swiss film director Jean-Luc Godard has passed away peacefully at his home at the age of 91, it’s been confirmed. He was a pioneer in the French New Wave movement, changing the face of cinema as we know it with his expressive and experimental filmmaking.

Beginning his career as a film critic, Godard’s first major work was as a director was 1960’s À bout de souffle (aka Breathless), and he continued his rewriting of the cinematic language with the likes of Le Petit Soldat (aka The Little Soldier), Vivre sa vie (aka My Life To Live), Les Carabiniers (aka The Carabineers), Le Mépris (aka Contempt), Bande à Part (aka Band of Outsiders), and Week-end. Godard worked prolifically through the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, and continued to make films into the '90s and after the turn of the millennium – his final feature was 2018 essay movie The Image Book, aka Le Livre d’image.

Tributes to Godard have begun to arrive from filmmakers he went on to inspire. Edgar Wright said: “RIP Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most influential, iconoclastic film-makers of them all. It was ironic that he himself revered the Hollywood studio film-making system, as perhaps no other director inspired as many people to just pick up a camera and start shooting…”

Scott Derrickson shared a tribute in which he said that Godard “changed the form of cinema like Bob Dylan changed the form of music.” Antonio Banderas thanked the director “for expanding the boundaries of the cinema.” Asif Kapadia simply wrote, “The King is Dead.”

A tribute arrived, too, from French President Emmanuel Macron, who wrote: “It was like an apparition in French cinema. Then he became a master. Jean-Luc Godard, the most iconoclastic of New Wave filmmakers, had invented a resolutely modern, intensely free art. We are losing a national treasure, a vision of genius.”

Our thoughts are with his friends, family and loved ones.

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