Speed Reads


Jean-Luc Godard, influential French New Wave director, dies at 91

Jean-Luc Godard, the revolutionary French New Wave director considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, has died. He was 91. 

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed news of Godard's death in a tweet, describing him as a "master." Godard's wife, Anne-Marie Mieville, told French media that he "died peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones," per Reuters

Godard was perhaps the most influential director of the French New Wave movement of the 1950s and 1960s, during which he directed films like Breathless after beginning his career as a film critic. Released in 1960, Breathless served as Godard's feature directorial debut, and it was listed as the 13th greatest movie ever made in Sight & Sound's most recent poll of the all-time best films. 

"Modern movies begin here, with Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless in 1960," Roger Ebert wrote in 2003, noting that the film was "revolutionary" for its "headlong pacing, its cool detachment, its dismissal of authority, and the way its narcissistic young heroes are obsessed with themselves and oblivious to the larger society." 

Godard's other movies included Contempt and A Woman Is a Woman. He continued to direct in recent years, and his 2018 movie The Image Book was entered into that year's Cannes Film Festival. In 2021, Godard announced he planned to retire. "I'm finishing my movie life — yes, my moviemaker's life — by doing two scripts," he said, per IndieWire. "After, I will say, 'Goodbye, cinema.'"

Director Edgar Wright remembered Godard as "one of the most influential, iconoclastic filmmakers of them all," noting, "It was ironic that he himself revered the Hollywood studio filmmaking system, as perhaps no other director inspired as many people to just pick up a camera and start shooting."