At the age of 83, Jean-Luc Godard, a true titan of film, has just released his newest work, Goodbye to Language. Far from a victory lap, Goodbye to Language is instead a daring experiment in the aesthetic possibilities of 3D. The release of the film is a great excuse to (re)discover the full breadth of Godard’s incredibly provocative, intellectual, confrontational, dazzling and confounding work—the work not just of a great director, but of one of the essential artists of the second half of the 20th century.
This page collects a series of essays exploring the philosophy, politics and art of Godard’s extraordinary work, culminating in a new critical video essay. I hope these posts help provide a bit of context to an artist who often requires it. Godard made films to reflect his times, taking the temperature of the culture around him—almost always near boiling—and finding ways to place himself in dialogue with this world. Consequently, his work can be a thick stew of references, riffing on Marxist and Maoist politics, philosophy, consumer products, classical music, pop-art, high literature, and of course, films of all kinds.
It’s these variables—new connections between images, and the connections these images make with the world—that define Godard’s cinema.
Thank you for reading.
a brief introduction to Godard’s work and suggestions for the neophyte
a look at Godard’s critical writing reveals his theories on cinema
the existentialism of Vivre sa vie helps craft Godard’s own philosophical identity
how Weekend’s radical use of sound reflects its radical leftist politics
artistic form provides the center for all of Godard’s other concerns
a collection of superimpositions that explore the connections between two images
finding links between Finnegans Wake and Film socialisme
the connection between art and politics located in Godard’s innovative montage
VARIABLES concludes with a look at Godard’s masterful rumination on nature and The Image