Jean-Luc Godard was born into a wealthy Swiss family in France in 1930. His parents sent him to live in Switzerland when war broke out, but in the late 40's he returned to Paris to study ethnology at the Sorbonne. He became acquainted with Claude Chabrol, Francois Truffaut, Eric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette, forming part of a group of passionate young film-makers devoted to exploring new possibilities in cinema.
They were the leading lights of Cahiers du CinÃÂ©ma, where they published their radical views on film. Godard's obsession with cinema beyond all else led to alienation from his family who cut off his allowance. Like the small time crooks he was to feature in his films, he supported himself by petty theft. He was desperate to put his theories into practice so he took a job working on Swiss dam and used it as an opportunity to film a documentary on the project.
The construction firm bought the film, an early indicator of Godard's more recent success working on corporate video commissions.
A bout de souffle (Breathless) (1959) was his first feature, based on an idea by Truffaut. Made on a shoe-string budget with Chabrol as artistic supervisor. Suddenly the typical B-feature crime plot was reborn, with startling cinematic techniques, hand-held camerawork and natural lighting. References to Sam Fuller and Humphrey Bogart and quotations from Faulkner, Aragon and. It was to be Godard's only box office hit that I could find.
By the early 60's Jean-Luc Godard was probably the most discussed director in the world. He made a an enormous impact on the future direction of cinema, influencing film-makers as diverse as Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders, Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino and Wong Kar-Wai.
As the 60's progressed, Godard became less and less accessible, both in...