French-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard has died at the age of 91, announced on Tuesday France Inter, source close to the director. In sixty years of career, he had made more than one hundred films. “Mr. Godard had recourse to legal assistance in Switzerland for a voluntary departure following ‘multiple disabling pathologies’ according to the terms of the medical report”, explained Patrick Jeanneret, family adviser, to AFP, confirming information published by the newspaper Release.
Iconic director of the New Wave
Figure of the New Wave, known for his character and his positions, he had notably realized “Breathless” in 1959, with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg. A controversial filmmaker, he had also directed “The Contempt”, in 1963, with Brigitte Bardot, “Alphaville” (Golden Bear in Berlin) or “Pierrot le fou”, with Jean-Paul Belmondo, in 1965.
Debut as a film critic, immediate success for “A bout de souffle”
“I’ve made films more like two or three jazz musicians: we give ourselves a theme, we play and then it’s organized”, he said. Like François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette or Eric Rohmer, Jean-Luc Godard had started out as a film critic for “Les Cahiers du Cinéma” in the 1950s, before moving on to directing.
His first feature film, “A bout de souffle”, was a great success and became one of the founding films of the New Wave. In the 1960s, he multiplied films and projects, becoming a leading director and a figure in the artistic and intellectual world. In May 1968, he radicalized and asked for the cancellation of the Cannes festival. He moves away from the cinema system and shoots more confidential films. He then worked for television and returned to cinema in the 80s, regaining his place as a leading filmmaker.
Lots of awards
Jean-Luc Godard had received many awards to recognize his work: several Golden and Silver Bears at Berlin festivals, and several Golden Lions at the Venice Film Festival. At the Cannes Film Festival, the film “Farewell to Language” received the Jury Prize in 2014, and the filmmaker received a special Golden Palm for his entire career and the film “The Picture Book” in 2018.
For Emmanuel Macron, “We are losing a national treasure”
President Emmanuel Macron wished to salute the memory of the filmmaker. “It was like an appearance in French cinema. Then he became a master of it. 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 look of genius, he wrote on Twitter.
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Cinema: director Jean-Luc Godard died at 91