Meticulously detailed biography of the renowned filmmaker, from his early days as a critic to success as director of such classic French New Wave films as Contempt and Alphaville.
Born in 1930, art-school reject Godard spent the immediate postwar years watching every movie he possibly could, mostly at the Cinémathèque in Paris. He became a teenage critic for Cahiers du cinéma, where he honed his attention to detail and ultimately crafted the theory that would become the basis of his own films: What happens on screen is connected to what occurs in everyday life. The moderate success of a short movie shot in Geneva called Une Femme coquette allowed him to return to France in the hopes of directing a feature which would “rival Citizen Kane in outsized ambition.” What ensued was a memorable series of films that changed the face of cinema—audacious, radical works like Breathless and Weekend (which ended with the famous title cards, “end of story” and “end of cinema”). Godard never enjoyed much commercial success, but he wowed the cognoscenti and such up-and-coming directors as George Lucas and Brian De Palma. New Yorker editor, film critic and independent moviemaker Brody draws on interviews with those closest to Godard to chronicle memorable events in his life and also offers in-depth discussion of the films. Taking a page from his subject, Brody mixes art and documentary to consider Godard’s existence, forever aware that what occurred in the director’s life was directly related to his films, which themselves drew on the high-pitched political climate of the 1960s and ’70s before becoming more formal and elegiac in later years.
Intoxicating and informative, a personal glimpse at one of the masters of cinema that will appeal to casual readers and filmgoers as well as Godard’s devoted fans.