Jean-Luc Godard (French: [ʒɑ̃lyk ɡɔdaʁ]; born 3 December 1930) is a French-Swiss film director, screenwriter and film critic. He is often identified with the 1960s French film movement La Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave.
Godard is as revolutionary and influential a hinge-figure in cinema as Joyce was to literature and the cubists were to painting. He saw a rule and broke it. Every day, in every movie. Incorporating what professionals thought of as mistakes (jump-cuts were only the most famous instance), mixing high culture and low without snobbish distinctions, demolishing the fourth wall between viewing himself as a maker of fictional documentaries, essay movies, and viewing his movies as an inseparable extension of his pioneering work as a film critic for Cahiers du Cinéma in the 1950s.
Like his New Wave contemporaries, Godard criticized mainstream French cinema’s “Tradition of Quality” which “emphasized craft over innovation, privileged established directors over new directors, and preferred the great works of the past to experimentation.”As a result of such argument, he and like-minded critics started to make their own films.Many of Godard’s films challenge the conventions of traditional Hollywood in addition to French cinema. In 1964, Godard described his and his colleagues’ impact: “We barged into the cinema like cavemen into the Versailles of Louis XV.” He is often considered the most radical French filmmaker of the 1960s and 1970s; his approach in film conventions, politics and philosophies made him arguably the most influential director of the French New Wave. Along with showing knowledge of film history through homages and references, several of his films expressed his political views; he was an avid reader of existential and Marxist philosophy
n a 2002 Sight & Sound poll, Godard ranked third in the critics’ top-ten directors of all time (which was put together by assembling the directors of the individual films for which the critics voted).
He is said to have “created one of the largest bodies of critical analysis of any filmmaker since the mid-twentieth century.” He and his work have been central to narrative theory and have “challenged both commercial narrative cinema norms and film criticism’s vocabulary.”
In 2010, Godard was awarded an Academy Honorary Award, but did not attend the award ceremony. Godard’s films have inspired many directors including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Brian De Palma, Steven Soderbergh, D. A. Pennebaker, Robert Altman, Jim Jarmusch, Wong Kar-wai, Wim Wenders, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Pier Paolo Pasolini.