Jean-Luc Godard dead
Jean-Luc Godard at the Berlinale 1981. Photo: Erika Rabau © Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek / Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

Jean-Luc Godard, the French-Swiss film director, considered a pioneer of the 1960s French New Wave film movement has died. He was 91.

Godard’s most celebrated period as a director spans roughly from his first feature, Breathless (À bout de souffle) (1960) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, through to Week End (1967).

His last film The Image Book (Le Livre d’image), a 2018 Swiss avant-garde essay film, competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The Image Book is composed of a series of films, paintings and pieces of music tied together with narration and additional original footage. The film examines the history of cinema and its inability to recognize the atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Berlin International Film Festival released a statement, mourning the loss of Jean-Luc Godard:

The Berlin International Film Festival is saddened at the death of the French-Swiss director and screenwriter Jean-Luc Godard. He was considered the leading representative of Nouvelle Vague, and one of the most influential and innovative directors in film history. Jean-Luc Godard received numerous awards for his body of work. He was a frequent Berlinale guest with his films, and received the Golden Bear for his film Alphaville in 1965. He also received the Silver Bear for Best Director in 1960 for À bout de souffle, and the Extraordinary Jury Award for Une femme est une femme in 1961. Multiple other Silver Bears were awarded to actors in his films.

“With films like À bout de souffle, Le Mépris and Pierrot le fou, Godard shaped cinema in the sixties, and has since then consistently renewed cinema and expanded the visual experience. To this day, Jean-Luc Godard inspires filmmakers worldwide. During the 2022 Berlinale, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt exhibition ‘Sentiments, Signes, Passions’ on Godard’s poetry film Le livre d’image offered an impressive example of his multifaceted oeuvre and focus on the medium of film. Most recently, we were able to experience Godard’s insight into his ideas in Mitra Farahani’s documentary À vendredi, Robinson at the 2022 Berlinale,” say the two directors of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian.

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