i am thinking about godard. his place in film. his place in culture. his old place.

it is interesting that his primary influence on film is so specific, a few years in scope -the godard of the 1960’s.

godard’s history, or his effect on history, is often summed up in the edit. the jump-cut specifically. the quick and somewhat obtrusive cut-through-time in breathless, his first feature in 1960, which was a means to an end. an artistic decision and problem solving solution as elemental as the choice of actor, camera or design.

i suppose that his films have failed to reach a wider audience due to distribution. there was a completely distorted time-line of his filmography, a result of a few of his early films being banned for content in major international cinemas. so for a long time, it was very hard to get a sense of his artistic development in the sixties when there were major discrepancies in release and completion dates.

his work in the seventies was primarily video and essayist tracts that barely saw the light of day except in major anthologies. that is getting corrected through the diligence of those who care. godard himself does not seem to be too involved in that process, as godard cares, and will forever only care, about now.

in the eighties, godard returned to film, though his video work remained.
his magnum opus, histoire(s) du cinema, was created for french television on video in 1989 and was completed in 1997. it is a great poetic essay that lays flat and folded, the story of cinema.
histoire(s) du cinema is a construction of layered images and sound- and to that measure it was released as a 5-cd set the complete soundtrack(without images) even before it was available on dvd (with images). it is available now only on dvd in france and japan and requires a region-free player. i was fortunate to have seen it projected at a sold out ucla screening some years ago.

the first film i ever saw by jean luc godard was hail mary in 1985, the year it was released. it is not an understatement to say that it changed my life. godard became my favorite director. i had not seen breathless or any other of his films. hail mary is an essay on a story, a very familiar story, told through considered edits of sound and image. its complex nature with regards to the whole of editing, indeed, the whole story, was radically different than any film i had seen before.


film stills from first name -carmen, hail mary, la chinoise,
histoire(s) du cinema, hail mary, respectfully