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Overview for Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard

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Also Known As: Hans Lucas Died:
Born: December 3, 1930 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Paris, FR Profession: Director ... critic screenwriter director actor producer cameraman editor theorist press agent laborer
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BIOGRAPHY

e, challenging television and video work. The main productions of the video period were the two series, the ten-hour "Six Fois Deux/Sur et sous la communication" (1976) and the six-hour "France-Tour-Detour-Deux-Enfants" (1978). Godard started with the premise that "video is for those who do not see." These series comprised essays on commonplace everyday subjects, including family, love and work; all as they were presented by the media for mass consumption. With some success, Godard challenged the passivity of television viewers and their unquestioning acceptance of media messages. Individual segments of the "Six Fois Deux" series examined the mass media's approach to such subjects as unemployment, farming, the language of images, photo news, math, madness and society, and, of course, filmmaking. In separate segments, real people with direct knowledge of each area of inquiry, including a farmer, a filmmaker and a mathematician personally discussed these topics and their representation in the media.

"France-Tour-Detour-Deux-Enfants" juxtaposed philosophical interviews with two children (ages 9 and 12) from the same family about the meaning of daily activities against images of everyday life with their parents, including watching television. For the first time, in these projects for the small screen, Godard took on the role of teacher to share with a much larger audience his understanding of the complex language of film and TV. In 1975, Godard released two films: "Numero Deux;" notable not only for its bold sexuality, but also for his spare usage of only parts of the frame, and "Comment Ca Va," which indicated the direction for the future. Starting in 1980, Godard continued the reinvestigation of concerns and themes he had first developed in the 1960s. "Sauve qui peut (la vie)" (1980) and "Passion" (1982) gave portraits of emotional confusion mixed with commentary on the problems of filmmaking. With his next three films, Godard hit his stride again, starting with "First Name: Carmen" (1983), which imaginatively retold the old story of Bizetâ¿¿s opera Carmen alongside crime drama about a group of young people plotting to rob bank. His next film, "Detective" (1985), a challenging comic homage to the crime genre that was dedicated to John Cassavetes, Edgar G. Ulmer, and Clint Eastwood, brought Godard back, marking one of his most accessible films in years.

But it was "Hail Mary" (1985) which truly marked Godard's return to cinematic prominence. This modern nativity tale placed the story of Joseph (Thierry Rode) and Mary (Myriem Roussel) in contemporary society, and filled it with rampant jealousy and loneliness, and a bitter divorce. Adding to the controversy was a healthy amount of nudity and coarse language, leading to some in the Catholic world â¿¿ particularly the Vatican â¿¿ to denounce the film as blasphemous. More serious critics, however, observed that the film was in fact quite devout in its faithful depiction of the famous biblical story. Regardless, there was no doubt that Godard had finally bridged the gap between his fertile 1960s period and the more difficult to understand 1970s. In 1987, the ever-prolific and experimental Godard turned out three more films. His segment of the omnibus feature "Aria" was one of the funnier exercises, setting Jean-Baptiste Lully's opera "Armide" in a gymnasium with brooding, nude female workers contemplating the murder of muscle-bound males. "Soigne ta droite" was a docu-essay on French pop group Les Rita Mitsouko, drawing comparisons to his earlier "One Plus One" (1968), which had intercut the Rolling Stones recording "Sympathy for the Devil" with fragments of contemporary English life.

Meanwhile, "King Lear" (1987) marked Godard's English-language debut, which featured American theater director Peter Sellars as the Bardâ¿¿s descendent, William Shakespeare the Fifth, who has been tasked with restoring his famed ancestorâ¿¿s lost works. Rounding out the cast with Molly Ringwald as Cordelia, Burgess Meredith as Lear and Woody Allen as Mr. Alien, "King Lear" unfortunately proved to be one of his weaker efforts of this period. While not a cause celebre, "Nouvelle Vague" ("New Wave") (1990), an experimental fantasy about big business machinations on a Swiss estate, continued Godard's very personal quest to understand the nature and meaning of the movies. Though difficult at times to understand, "New Wave" nonetheless offered rhythmic images and sound sublimely edited together. Godardâ¿¿s affectionate video, "History of the Cinema" (1991), and his feature "Germany Year 90 Nine Zero" (1991), which revisited both Rossellini's classic "Germany Year Zero" (1947) and Godard's own "Alphaville," further confirmed his singular position taken to explore the relationship between cinema and life itself. His work seemed to become that of an artist in the twilight of his career, as in "Helas Pour Moi" ("Woe Is Me") (1993), which reworked the Greek myth of Amphitryon to explore the issue of God's role in human lives.

Turning the camera directly on himself following decades of making personal allusions, Godard made the documentary "JLG/JLG: autoportrait de décembre" ("JLG/JLG: Self-Portrait in December") (1994), a meditative self-portrait that referenced his works in the larger context of cinema and the world itself. He next directed "For Ever Mozart" (1996), an often difficult film that followed a French theater troupe on their way to Sarajevo that is captured and held in a POW camp. Both a strong criticism of European policy towards Yugoslavia and of war in general, the film was confusing to the point of undermining any political point it was trying to make. In 1998, he completed "Histoire(s) du cinema," a video project started in the late 1980s that examined the history of cinema in its relation to the 20th century. With "Eloge de l⿿Amour" ("In Praise of Love") (2001), Godard unsurprisingly turned to digital filmmaking after shooting the first part in 35mm black and white, bridging the gap between the past and future of cinema in this more straightforward narrative about show business. Meanwhile, "Notre musique" ("Our Music") (2004) earned critical praise for his reflections on art, violence and morality while deftly connecting past colonialism with the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While awaiting the release of his next excursion into politics and the cinema, "Socialisme" (2010), it was announced that Godard would receive an Honorary Oscar at the 2011 Academy Awards alongside Francis Ford Coppola, Eli Wallach and film preservationist Kevin Brownlow. Famously disdainful of any film awards, as well as a veritable recluse, Godard failed to respond publicly to the news despite numerous attempts by the media to contact him, leading to speculation that the touchy director might well prove to be a no-show for the ceremony.ilms: "Tout va bien" (1972) and "A Letter to Jane" (1972). "Tout va bien," with Yves Montand and Jane Fonda, was one of his more accessible films from this period, complete with international stars. As if in reaction, "Letter to Jane" was an essay about an image of Jane Fonda in Vietnam which had appeared in the magazine L'Express. A 45-minute monologue by Godard/Gorin, "Letter to Jane" explained much about their theories of images and sounds, and how they related to politics. Following the line of thinkers whose most influential spokesperson had been Bertolt Brecht, the Dziga-Vertov Group politicized the kind of cinema Godard himself had been creating all along; one which established critical distance and reflection on a film's subject matter through constant disruption of any invisible realistic style.

The Dziga-Vertov Group disbanded in 1973, with Gorin moving to California to teach and Godard moving on to video, which proved to be a better medium for the essays and experimentation he had in mind. In 1975, he left Paris for Grenobl to collaborate with his third wife, Anne-Marie Mieville, on intimatrd disapp

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