Monday, October 3, 2022

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Filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard has died

Jean-Luc Godard is dead. The Franco-Swiss filmmaker died “peacefully” and “surrounded by his loved ones” on Tuesday at the age of 91 at his home in Rolle (VD), his wife Anne-Marie Miéville and their producers announced With. According to them, no official ceremony will take place.

The brief press release released by his relatives further states that the filmmaker will be cremated. Further details are not given.

With his radical film aesthetics, Jean-Luc Godard is one of the directors who had a decisive influence on cinema far beyond the 1960s: As a co-founder of the New Wave, he broke with the canons of cinema to create an experimental film language. And when he regarded cinema as an art, he elevated it above all to the rank of a thinking tool. On this subject we hear Achilleas Papakonstantis, lecturer at UNIL in History and Aesthetics of Cinema and author of a book on Jean-Luc Godard.

Achilleas PapaconstantisLecturer at UNIL in History and Aesthetics of Cinema and author of a book on Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930 to French parents of Swiss origin and spent his childhood in Nyon (VD). After studying ethnology in Paris, he first wanted to be a writer, then a painter, before turning to cinema.

As a cigar lover and tennis enthusiast, he has a penchant for provocation. Unpredictable, he seems to delight in playing the media troublemaker, sometimes cynical and politely misanthropic.

Plenty of work

The artist has signed a rich work. He has directed or participated in nearly 150 films and videos. One of his best-known feature films, “A bout de souffle” (1959), became a flagship work for the New Wave. It was followed by “Le Contempt” (1963), “Pierrot le Fou” (1965), “La Chinoise” (1967), “Sauve qui peut (la vie)” 1980, “Prénom Carmen” (1983) or the eight episodes of “History(s) of Cinema” (1988-1998).

His death comes shortly after that of Geneva filmmaker Alain Tanner. Something that moves Chicca Bergonzi, deputy director of the Cinémathèque suisse and program manager:

The Cinémathèque suisse takes on a Godard retrospective. This will take a while. Films are restored and digitized. From here to there, Jean-Luc Godard’s films are regularly screened by the Cinémathèque at the Casino de Montbenon in Lausanne.

But even if the name Jean-Luc Godard resonates in many minds, his work is still relatively unknown today. We find Achilleas Papakonstantis, lecturer at UNIL in History and Aesthetics of Cinema.

His muses include Anna Karina and Anne Waziemski, whom he married successively before becoming the partner of Anne-Marie Miéville, who lived in Lausanne. The couple has lived in Rolle since 1977. The news of the filmmaker’s death inevitably has a special resonance in the city. He is described by the syndic as a discreet citizen who liked to have his coffee at a downtown restaurant. Monique Choulat Pugnale, who told us that a tribute should be paid soon.

Hear our tribute to the announcement of his death just before 11am on LFM:

Reactions erupted from all sides. Alain Berset mourns the passing of one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. For the director of the Swiss Cinémathèque, Frédéric Maire, “Godard was THE cinema, in capital letters,” he told Keystone-ATS on Tuesday. The Vaud Council of State honors “an important personality”.

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