Par The Girl
Jean-Luc Godard – a man that has roared so loud, he reverberated through the annals of French New Wave cinema. From rejecting popular cinematic formats to his cast of femme fatales (Anna Karina, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Seberg), he is still a provocateur at the age of 85. And his indisputable effect on contemporary cinema refuses to wane. To celebrate his birthday, here's what I've learned from Godard's oeuvre...
01. Filming is possible for everyone.
Godard's A Bout de Souffle showed us that filming is possible for anyone – even at the small budget of 510,000 francs (a third of the average cost of a film at the time). The 1960 debut feature was filmed on location, using hand-held cameras and without any famous actors.
Godard at the time was relatively inexperienced and lacked knowledge of the practical aspects of filmmaking. He appeared amateurish by applying fearlessly a gritty aesthetic and by making use of deliberate jump-cuts. Nevertheless, A Bout de Souffle was an immediate success and a departure from past genre archetypes.
In the forth-coming years, he inspired a generation of filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino and Lars Von Trier and ultimately taught me to follow the heart and gain recognition through an independent spirit.
And in any case, always remember what Godard said: It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.
02. To dare to be vulnerable.
It is no secret that I am a crier and I am often being judged because of that. But the premise that crying is a sign of weakness is fundamentally destroyed in Godard's Une Femme Est Une Femme. In the 1961 neorealist musical, we see Angéla (Anna Karina) attempt to have a child with her unwilling lover Émile (Jean-Claude Brialy). In the process, she finds herself torn between him and his best friend Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo).
In a scene, Émile declares that women in tears are ugly. But the character of Angéla taught me that "there's nothing more beautiful than a woman in tears" and that it is okay to show fragility when things don't go my way.
Une Femme Est Une Femme is a testament that vulnerability is not a weakness and that honesty and openness are catalysts for finding true beauty. Let your tears shine a light in this emotionally disabled society we live in and subsequently, boycott women who don't cry.
03. To express myself in ravishingly, vivid hues.
In Pierrot Le Fou, Made in USA and of course, Une Femme Est Une Femme, Godard filtered images and scenes through bleu, blanc and rouge. His affinity with strikingly vivid hues taught me to seek beyond the power of language, for "words have a strange power to illuminate darkness" (as Ferdinand says in Pierrot Le Fou). Godard treats cinema as a big-screen canvas and replaces vague words with eye-popping images.
So, when you find yourself surrounded by vérité black and white, start punctuating your life with the beautiful spectrum of colour. In other words, add colour to the mundane and have confidence in being unique.
04. To break the effin' rules.
From refusing the classic storytelling structure of film to making use of discontinuous editing to asynchronous soundtracks to cinema of pure anarchy, Godard rejects conventional rules.
So in a world where we are often being told how to be and how to feel – be like him. Shock and awe, make the imperceptible visible, see things differently, love truly, kiss slowly, laugh uncontrollably, colour outside the lines, be open and daring, cause a little trouble. And always remember that in this highly populated universe, there's a number of people who will see your inner terrifying, strange and different cosmos and find it to be...a masterpiece. █