Jean-Luc Godard, French New Wave pioneer, dies at 91

Jean-Luc Godard, whose dynamic style and innovative techniques changed cinema forever, has died at the age of 91.

Jean-Luc Godard was consistently ranked among the greatest and most influential directors to ever live. Beginning as a film critic before making a literal wave in French cinema, Godard and the likes of François Truffaut and Jacques Rivette launched the French New Wave. The movement pushed nearly all boundaries of expected filmmaking techniques.

Godard’s nearly 60-year career was prolific and ever-evolving, churning out over 40 films in that time period, including Breathless, Band of Outsiders, Week-end, Tout va bien, and The Image Book, his final film. Jean-Luc Godard constantly showcased his rebellious style and command, from his 1960 debut through his final years, where he even made a 3D movie. He, too, molded the careers of so many French icons, including the great Jean Seberg, who was later played by Kristen Stewart.

Some of Jean-Luc Godard’s signature moves include jarring jump cut edits, organic handheld camerawork and shooting on location for heightened authenticity. He, too, experimented with lighting and color, expertly utilizing deep contrast in Vivre sa vie and explosive blues and reds in Pierrot le Fou.

His influences on a plethora of big-name directors, so many of whom cite Jean-Luc Godard as a key personality in cinema. These include Arthur Penn, whose Bonnie and Clyde wouldn’t have the style it does with Godard and the French New Wave. There’s also Scorsese, who called Godard’s Contempt “one of the most loving films of its era.” Considering its early ‘60s release, that’s saying something. And of course Quentin Tarantino, who named his production company, A Band Apart, as a play on Godard’s Bande à part.

Were you a fan of Jean-Luc Godard? Let us know your favorite film of his in the comments below!
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