“Godard shows artists, and even the public, that we can create and live differently”

Lhomages to Jean-Luc Godard since his death on Tuesday, September 13, are as numerous in France as abroad, in the cinema and outside, and the emotion is broad-spectrum, ranging from actress Brigitte Bardot to the deputy (La France insoumise) of Seine-Saint-Denis Clémentine Autain. We also note that the flood of praise is often based on just a few films, among the first, in the 1960s. mockery than admiration. As for the aesthetic descent of the filmmaker, it is untraceable.

So why is it rocking so much? Because Godard shows artists, and even the public, that one can create and live differently. Yes, live differently. He gives that hope. It opens up a question that is more existential than aesthetic, confirms Leos Carax who, at 17, discovered Pierrot le fou and says to himself that “life is going to be possible” (Release September 13).

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Jean-Paul Belmondo goes in the same direction in his autobiography, A thousand lives are better than one (Fayard, 2016). While comedy experts kept telling the actor he sucked, Godard hired him to Breathless (1960) so that it is like in life. Asking the filmmaker what he should do when he enters a bar, the answer bursts out: ” What you want. » Pissing in a sink, for example. And to comment: “Godard gives me tremendous impunity to be myself. » Belmondo made three feature films with Franco-Swiss, he doesn’t have much in common with him, but he dreamed of making ten or twenty. “For nothing in the world would I have missed an adventure with him. » Because it’s an adventure, not a shoot.

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This adventure, having as its corollary its part of the unexpected, stems from the particular and idealized status of Godard, which every creator wants to appropriate and cites to reassure himself: that of an artist between the idol and the hermit, who intends keep total control over his work, over his life too, sincehe chose his death. No one has scrapped the border between art and industry so much, playing it tight with the “professionals of the profession”to use one of his formulas, before scuttling himself for aesthetic and political reasons – a bit like the American author and director Orson Welles.

miraculous period

It is no coincidence that almost all of the films cited in homage to Godard over the past four days appear in his first fifteen. They constitute a miraculous period. The filmmaker shoots them in eight years, so at a phenomenal pace. Weekend (1967) closes this “classic” period, so to speak. Because these fifteen works are already at the border of the traditional feature film and the experimental object (narrative, form). From the cinema hall and the museum.

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