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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-LucGodard​ ’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 ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Breathless’

22 July 2010
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... Paris reading a newspaper, making lots of phone calls and pestering an American girl who works at the Herald Tribune and wants to be a writer. And we do remember all this, or most of it, as we watch Jean-LucGodard’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 ...

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-LucGodard’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 ...

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-LucGodard’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 ...
21 November 1985
Money into Light 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 241 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 571 13731 8
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... voice. In Paris, in July 1983, he explains step by step how a $10m film which does well at home and abroad can still fail to profit the people who actually made it. He does not go quite as far as Jean-LucGodard 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 ...
8 February 1990
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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... art only when it has been rejected by the general public’. The point is well made, but of course one could remain financially independent and still fail to ask the hard questions: and this is what Jean-LucGodard 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 ...

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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... é-clubs and the Cinémathèque Française run by Henri Langlois – were the group of five who, once they became film-makers themselves, came to be known as the Nouvelle Vague: François Truffaut, Jean-LucGodard, 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 ...

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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... the only time when we had ‘an authentic intelligentsia’ in Britain, pointing out that ‘we suddenly started getting on terribly well with the French and the Italians and the Germans.’ She pays Jean-LucGodard 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 ...


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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... I have no use for a writer who directs my attention to himself and to his wit instead of the people he is interpreting,’ Jean-LucGodard 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 ...

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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... all of this seems intended but, consciously or otherwise, Dana Spiotta has reproduced in her leading characters the conflicts (more destructive in the ranks of the Nouvelle Vague, to be sure) between Jean-LucGodard, 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 ...
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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... etat in 1961, the official report mentioned ‘a certain indifference to the drudgery that always accompanies the most elevated work’ and ‘a spontaneous tendency to go beyond the facts’. Even Jean-LucGodard, 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 ...

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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... the battles within the Black Dwarf collective), the dogged leafleting and marching (Spies for Peace, Grosvenor Square), the attitudes to women (should she walk naked down a flight of stairs for Jean-LucGodard? ‘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 ...


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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... introspection, and lightly-worn but constantly paraded references to all things Western. Wonderland’s narrator, for instance, alludes to Star Trek and Somerset Maugham, the films of John Ford and Jean-LucGodard, 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 ...

Watch your tongue

Marina Warner

20 August 1992
Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love 
by Howard Bloch.
Chicago, 308 pp., £14.95, February 1992, 0 226 05973 1
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Women of the Renaissance 
by Margaret King.
Chicago, 328 pp., £13.50, December 1991, 0 226 43618 7
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The Lady as Saint: A Collection of French Hagiographical Romances of the 13th Century 
by Brigitte Cazelles.
Pennsylvania, 320 pp., £35, November 1991, 9780812230994
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Heavenly Supper: The Story of Maria Janis 
by Fulvio Tomizza, translated by Anne Jacobson Shutte.
Chicago, 184 pp., £19.95, December 1991, 0 226 80789 4
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Oppositional Voices: Women as Writers and Translators of Literature in the English Renaissance 
by Tina Krontiris.
Routledge, 192 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 415 06329 9
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... garment; to adorn this fleshly raiment with yet more artifice and paint doubled the distance that separated the incarnate and fallen world from the disembodied condition of the angels. When Jean-LucGodard, in his update of the Nativity story, Je vous salue Marie, closed with a shot of his Mary painting herself a bright red mouth in the wing mirror of her car, he was offering an orthodox theological ...
1 August 1985
Immoral Memories 
by Sergei Eisenstein, translated by Herbert Marshall.
Peter Owen, 292 pp., £20, June 1985, 0 7206 0650 0
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A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema: 1930-1980 
by Robert Ray.
Princeton, 409 pp., £48.50, June 1985, 0 691 04727 8
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by David Thomson.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 52014 1
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Cahiers du Cinéma. Vol. I: The 1950s. Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave 
edited by Jim Hillier.
Routledge with the British Film Institute, 312 pp., £16.95, March 1985, 0 7100 9620 8
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... in these influential but extravagantly unsystematic writers occasionally fails to do justice to their main interest for many readers: their having gone on to make the films of François Truffaut, Jean-LucGodard, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer. Their polemical stance as critics (with the exception of their brilliant mentor, the metaphysically-inclined André Bazin) was an attempt ...

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