Jean-Luc Godard, daring French New Wave director, dies at 91

Jean-Luc Godard, the defiantly iconoclastic and stylistically adventurous filmmaking big who rose to prominence as element of the French New Wave movement in the 1960s, has died.

He was 91.

Godard’s dying was verified by French President Emmanuel Macron, who praised the director for having “invented a resolutely contemporary, intensely absolutely free art.”

“We are shedding a national treasure, a look of genius,” Macron wrote on Twitter.

Godard upended filmmaking conventions at each turn. He delighted, provoked, and in some cases puzzled audiences with art-residence classics like “Breathless” (1960), “Band of Outsiders” (1964) and “Alphaville” (1965).

He experimented with handheld camera do the job, jarring “leap cuts” and other radical tactics that freely blended fiction and documentary types, inspiring legions of filmmakers about the planet to boldly defy creative traditions.

“A story need to have a starting, a center and an end,” Godard as soon as stated, “but not necessarily in that get.”

Godard, together with friends these as Francois Truffaut and Eric Rohmer, pioneered a movement known as the French New Wave (or La Nouvelle Obscure), an explosion of revolutionary, narratively unfastened-limbed and wittily self-reflexive flicks.

“Breathless,” Godard’s very first function-size film, embodied the verve of the French New Wave: jazzy, rough-edged, fearless. Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg starred, but Godard was virtually an invisible third character, leaving his imprint on each body.

He begun out as a critic at the 1950s. In daring, highly influential get the job done for the journal Cahiers du Cinéma, Godard dismissed the staid traditions of European art cinema and advocated instead for American administrators like Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks.

Godard was recognized for his leftist politics, and his sights — knowledgeable in element by his research of Marxism and existentialism — formed lots of of his early films and sometimes produced him a magnet for controversy.

In latest several years, Godard continued to perform steadily, exploring the new options of electronic know-how in artistically arduous and elusive operates like “Movie Socialisme” (2010), “Goodbye to Language” (2014) and “The Graphic Book” (2018).

“Godard is a director of the incredibly initially rank no other director in the 1960s has had far more influence on the growth of the element-length film,” the late critic Roger Ebert wrote in 1969. “Like Joyce in fiction or Beckett in theater, he is a pioneer whose current get the job done is not suitable to existing audiences.”

“But his affect on other administrators is gradually producing and educating an viewers that will, possibly in the next era, be capable to look back again at his movies and see that this is exactly where their cinema commenced,” Ebert extra.

Jean-Luc Godard was born on Dec. 3, 1930, to an affluent French-Swiss loved ones in Paris his father was a health practitioner who ran a clinic on the Swiss facet of Lake Geneva. In time, Godard rebuffed the bourgeois comforts of his upbringing, lurching in the direction of sights that turned down the position quo.

He researched for a degree in ethnology, participated in innumerable discussions at Parisian student cafés and soaked up the countercultural scene that emerged soon after World War II. The youthful artist’s cerebral pursuits would at some point direct him to art cinema.

In infectiously enthusiastic producing for Cahiers du Cinéma, Godard and his New Wave peers manufactured what was then an unorthodox argument: Hitchcock, Hawks and other American studio filmmakers were inventive giants on par with the European masters.

The youthful critic — like quite a few of his fellow writers for Cahiers — before long turned to earning his very own films.

Godard’s reverence for U.S. professional cinema was simple to see in “Breathless,” in which a freewheeling sensibility drawn from European neorealism mixed with the iconography of midcentury The us: guns, fedoras, cigarettes and tabloid newspapers.

He was prolific, generating at the very least a film a year in the ’60s, which includes artwork-dwelling essentials like “A Lady Is a Girl” (1961), “Contempt” (1963), “Pierrot le Fou” (1965), “Masculin Féminin” (1966) and “Week-end” (1967).

He entered a confrontational and politically militant time period in the ’70s prior to returning to what some critics regarded as a a lot more conventional design in the ’80s.

Godard’s films are considered key influences on liberated, rule-breaking administrators such as Martin Scorsese, Bernardo Bertolucci, Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino, as nicely as quite a few experimental skills doing the job outdoors the Hollywood system.

He was married twice, to Anna Karina and then Anne Wiazemsky, both actors who starred in quite a few of his films.

“The 7 and a 50 percent films that [Karina] created with Jean-Luc Godard represent, arguably, the most influential overall body of function in the background of cinema,” Filmmaker magazine wrote in 2016.

He afterwards started a intimate connection with Swiss filmmaker Anne-Marie Miéville, who was with him at the time of his dying.

In the training course of his career, Godard gained accolades these as the Venice Film Pageant Golden Lion in 1983 and an honorary Academy Award in 2010. The Oscar was inscribed: “For enthusiasm. For confrontation. For a new sort of cinema.”