Jean-Luc Godard celebrated his 87th birthday on December 3 and even though I read a handful of articles and re-tweeted tweet I saw about the master I’m only getting around to mentioning it here. Maybe I was slow to this task because GODARD seems too massive for a quick mention in a blog post. He’s absolutely one of my favorite film directors and movies like Pierrot, Le Feu have had a direct impact on my own creating. While I love the frenzied physicality of Oliver Stone in his prime, and I’m in an eternal/fraternal wrestling match with John Cassavetes for the rest of my life, Godard’s marriage of incisive vision, and sensuous imagery and editing gives us a stylized cinema of cool that turns a critical eye back on the camera and even on the audience. I saw Godard’s 3D film Goodbye to Language the one time it screened in Nashville at the Nashville Film Festival back in 2015. A sampling of the critical response following the movie’s 2014 premiere at Cannes includes Antoine De Baecque writing that the film remained faithful to the ideals of the French New Wave by being “absolutely contemporary” and telling the truth of the modern age. While Éric Neuhoff of Le Figaro wrote that Godard was an “old senile adolescent” who had “lost his inspiration” and “has learned nothing about love, the couple [or] society”, and mocked the film’s fifteen-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. Would you believe that they’re both right?
Here is Godard with Dick Cavett in a warm and charming interview from 1980.