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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Le Mépris’, 21 January 2016

Le Mépris 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... Jean-Luc Godard​ ’s Le Mépris has many admirers, and a restored print of it gets star billing in the BFI’s current season devoted to the director. Certainly it offers some fine quirky moments and angles, but it seems too distracted and awkward to count among Godard’s best films ...

After the Movies

Michael Wood: Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma, 4 December 2008

Histoire(s) du cinéma 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... Whatever else it may be, Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma (now available on DVD from Artificial Eye) does not resemble the afternoon bill at the old Plaza or the new Cineplex. He first thought of creating a history of cinema in 1978. It would be told, he said, ‘archaeologically and biologically ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Breathless’, 22 July 2010

Breathless 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... Herald Tribune and wants to be a writer. And we do remember all this, or most of it, as we watch Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless in the fine new print released for the work’s 50th birthday. The film helps us out, because it is almost entirely faithful to our memories, it has scarcely changed. It’s true it doesn’t feel quite as young as it did, and ...

When the beam of light has gone

Peter Wollen: Godard Turns Over, 17 September 1998

The Films of Jean-Luc Godard 
by Wheeler Winston Dixon.
SUNY, 290 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 0 7914 3285 8
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Speaking about Godard 
by Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki.
New York, 256 pp., $55, July 1998, 0 8147 8066 0
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... I was living in Paris in 1959, the year of both Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless and Budd Boetticher’s The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, and I went to see both of these films the week they were released. In fact, I went back to see them a number of times. I couldn’t help noticing that Godard quoted from another Boetticher movie in the course of Breathless, in the scene where the small-time gangster Michel Poiccard, played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, dives into a cinema on the Champs Elysées in order to shake off a wearisome tail ...

Jungle Book

John Pym, 21 November 1985

Money into Light 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 241 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 571 13731 8
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... abroad can still fail to profit the people who actually made it. He does not go quite as far as Jean-Luc Godard who, on visiting the Nemo set, impishly claims that the mark of a film-maker’s standing can be defined by the percentage of the budget he can spend on himself and his friends. ‘It is impossible to make a film today,’ ...

Who takes the train?

Michael Wood, 8 February 1990

Letters 
by François Truffaut, edited by Gilles Jocob, Claude de Givray and Gilbert Adair.
Faber, 589 pp., £17.50, November 1989, 0 571 14121 8
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... could remain financially independent and still fail to ask the hard questions: and this is what Jean-Luc Godard seems to be saying in a muddled and nasty letter which signals the end of his friendship with Truffaut – signals only, since there seem to have been several other causes, barely hinted at in this collection. Picking up the image of films as ...

These are intolerable

Richard Mayne, 10 September 1992

Michel Foucault 
by Didier Eribon, translated by Betsy Wing.
Faber, 374 pp., £25, August 1992, 0 571 14474 8
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... the most elevated work’ and ‘a spontaneous tendency to go beyond the facts’. Even Jean-Luc Godard, whose 1967 film La Chinoise made fun of the fashion for being seen with Foucault’s Les Motsetles choses (if not actually reading it), told an interviewer: ‘If 1 don’t particularly like Foucault, it’s because of his saying “At such ...

A Long Forgotten War

Jenny Diski: Sheila Rowbotham, 6 July 2000

Promise of a Dream: A Memoir of the 1960s 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Allen Lane, 262 pp., £18.99, July 2000, 0 7139 9446 0
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... Grosvenor Square), the attitudes to women (should she walk naked down a flight of stairs for Jean-Luc Godard? ‘Don’t you think I am able to make a cunt boring?’ exclaimed the auteur). Sexuality became political when the International Socialists decided to expel her. ‘“You’ve been fucking with a Stalinist,” hissed a man in ...

Viva Biba

Janet Watts, 8 December 1988

Very Heaven: Looking back at the 1960s 
edited by Sara Maitland.
Virago, 227 pp., £4.95, October 1988, 0 86068 958 1
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... started getting on terribly well with the French and the Italians and the Germans.’ She pays Jean-Luc Godard the compliment that after Breathless (1959), ‘my whole experience of the next decade can be logged in relation to Godard’s movies as if he were some sort of touchstone.’ In another child of the ...

As If

Jonathan Romney: ‘Cahiers du cinéma’, 9 September 2010

A Short History of ‘Cahiers du cinéma’ 
by Emilie Bickerton.
Verso, 156 pp., £12.99, March 2010, 978 1 84467 232 5
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... they became film-makers themselves, came to be known as the Nouvelle Vague: François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol and Maurice Schérer, later known by his pseudonym, Eric Rohmer. By and large, unlike their counterparts on the left-wing journal Positif, the early Cahiers writers were either effectively on the right, like ...

Self-Illuminated

Gilberto Perez: Godard’s Method, 1 April 2004

GodardA Portrait of the Artist at 70 
by Colin MacCabe.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, November 2003, 0 7475 6318 7
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... who directs my attention to himself and to his wit instead of the people he is interpreting,’ Jean-Luc Godard said in one of his early articles for Cahiers du cinéma. From the beginning Godard liked to be contrary. In a magazine that championed a cinema of personal expression and was to proclaim la politique des ...

Looking for Imperfection

Gilberto Perez: John Cassavetes, 23 August 2001

John Cassavetes: Lifeworks 
by Tom Charity.
Omnibus, 257 pp., £10.95, March 2001, 0 7119 7544 2
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Cassavetes on Cassavetes 
edited by Ray Carney.
Faber, 526 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 571 20157 1
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... in these movies is a peculiar documentary of performance. One of Cassavetes’s European admirers, Jean-Luc Godard, has said that every film is a documentary of its actors. That may be true – besides playing a part in a fiction, the actor is a real person before the camera’s documentary eye – but it is not true of every film in the same way. The ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... Georges Simenon in the Série Noire that gave film noir its name. French homages to noir – the Jean-Luc Godard/Jean-Paul Belmondo Breathless, made the year Chandler died, and the François Truffaut/Charles Aznavour Shoot the Pianist – fulfilled the form as tragedy and initiated the New ...

Sight, Sound and Sex

Adam Mars-Jones: Dana Spiotta, 17 March 2016

Innocents and Others 
by Dana Spiotta.
Scribner, 278 pp., £17.95, March 2016, 978 1 5011 2272 9
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... characters the conflicts (more destructive in the ranks of the Nouvelle Vague, to be sure) between Jean-Luc Godard, preaching the dogma of continuous revolution, and François Truffaut, the ingratiating humanist. Godard’s background was close to plutocratic, while Truffaut’s early life was almost caricaturally ...

Sheeped

Julian Loose, 30 January 1992

The Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Alfred Birnbaum.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 241 13144 8
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... narrator, for instance, alludes to Star Trek and Somerset Maugham, the films of John Ford and Jean-Luc Godard, expresses a preference for Turgenev over Dostoevsky and argues the rival merits of Pinnock and Richter’s recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos. And as can be seen in Monkey Brain Sushi and New Japanese Voices, two excellent and ...

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