Film director Jean-Luc Godard, the godfather of the new wave of cinema in France, has died at the age of 91.
Godard’s star shined by directing “Breatheless”, through which he began directing a series of famous artworks that rewrote the rules of cinematic film.
His work has boldly refashioned the cinematic landscape, and his style has influenced other directors from Quentin Tarantino to Martin Scorsese.
Godard’s legal advisor told AFP that the Swiss-French director “has sought legal assistance in Switzerland to voluntarily end his life after suffering from multiple diseases that paralyzed his life,” according to a medical report.
Switzerland allows euthanasia and Swiss law allows its use in certain cases.
French President Emmanuel Macron mourned him, saying Godard had “a vision of genius”.
“He was like a phantom in French cinema, and then became a professor of it,” Macron added in a tweet in honor of the famous director.
“Jean-Luc Godard, the most liberated filmmaker of the New Wave, created a very modern and free art. We lost a national treasure, he was a man of genius vision,” he said.
Godard directed a wealth of influential films in the 1960s, including “Contempt”, “League of Strangers” and “Alphaville”.
Godard began his artistic career as a film critic before stepping behind the camera and directing the new “Breathtaking” movie in his style and exciting at the same time, in which the film’s heroes, Jean Seberg and Jean Paul Belmondo starred, in an unusual new way, with the camera constantly moving, and the editing was fast A bold, semi-improvised film script.
The director once stated, describing the film as “characterized by everything that cinema has made, girls, gangs and cars, (the film) highlighting all of this and putting an end to the old style once and for all.”
Godard then directed The Little Soldier, although the film was banned until 1963 due to its depiction of torture as a government-imposed punishment.
His team included the Danish model, Anna Karina, whom Godard married in 1961, and she continued to appear in his work in a series of his most successful films.
Anna Karina played the role of a nightclub dancer who wants to have a child in the movie “Woman is the Woman” in 1961, and she also played the role of a young Parisian prostitute in the movie “My Life I Will Live” in 1962, as well as the role of a gang member in the movie “The Gang of Strangers” in 1965.
Influenced by the film, Tarantino called his production company “The Gang of Strangers”, in reference to the film’s French title, and once said Godard was “very influential” to him as a director.
He added, “It was Godard who taught me the joy, freedom, and joy of breaking the rules… I consider Godard to be cinema as Bob Dylan is in music.”
Director Scorsese described Godard’s 1963 film Contempt, starring Brigitte Bardot, as one of his ten favorite films.
He wrote in 2014 that it was “one of the most exciting films of its time”, and that Godard was “the greatest artist of contemporary cinema”.
Godard’s stories also blended time and space, which changed the idea of a fixed narrative in the artwork, and once said, “A story must have a beginning, middle, and end, but not necessarily in that order.”
Godard directed over 100 films, most recently in 2018, though some believe Godard has become deliberately vague as his career continues.
The French director received an honorary Oscar in 2011 for the entirety of his artistic career, bearing a dedication that says “for passion, for confrontation, for a new type of cinema.”
His family said in a statement on Tuesday that the Swiss-French director had died “peacefully in his home,” adding: “There will be no official (funeral) ceremony, his body will be cremated.”
“(Godard) filled cinema with poetry and philosophy. His sharp and unique insight made us see what we cannot see,” former French Culture Minister Jacques Lang told Reuters news agency.
Among those who wrote a speech to honor the French director, actor Antonio Banderas, who wrote: “Thank you Monsieur Godard for expanding the horizons of cinema.”
“Rest in peace Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most influential and symbolic filmmakers,” wrote Edgar Wright, director of Baby Driver.
He added: “It is ironic that he himself was lauding the Hollywood studio film-making system, because perhaps no other director has inspired so many people to pick up the camera and start shooting.”