Jean-Luc Godard

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Jean-Luc Godard (born 3 December 1930) Paris, France. is a French film director, whose works include the films Alphaville, À bout de souffle, Une Femme est une femme, Vivre sa vie, Bande à part, Tout va bien and many more.


  • Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.
    • "What Is Cinema?" Les Amis du Cinéma (Paris, October 1, 1952).

  • The truth is that there is no terror untempered by some great moral idea.
    • "Strangers on a Train," Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris, March 10, 1952).

  • Beauty is composed of an eternal, invariable element whose quantity is extremely difficult to determine, and a relative element which might be, either by turns or all at once, period, fashion, moral, passion.
    • "Defence and Illustration of Classical Construction," Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris, Sept. 15, 1952).

  • All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.
    • Journal entry, May 16, 1991.

  • To me style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of style, like the outside and the inside of the human body—both go together, they can’t be separated.
    • Quoted in Richard Roud, Godard, introduction (1967, repr. 1970).

  • The cinema is not an art which films life: the cinema is something between art and life. Unlike painting and literature, the cinema both gives to life and takes from it, and I try to render this concept in my films. Literature and painting both exist as art from the very start; the cinema doesn’t.
    • Quoted in Richard Roud, Godard, introduction (1970).

  • Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second.
    • Le Petit Soldat (film) (direction and screenplay, 1960).
    • [variation] Cinema is truth at twenty-four frames a second.

  • "I would never see a good movie for the first time on television."
    • from Los Angeles Free Press, March 15, 1968. Gene Youngblood

  • "...the movie is not a thing which is taken by the camera; the movie is the reality of the movie moving from reality to the camera."
    • from Los Angeles Free Press, March 22, 1968. Gene Youngblood

  • "In films, we are trained by the American way of moviemaking to think we must understand and 'get' everything right away. But this is not possible. When you eat a potato, you don't understand each atom of the potato!"
    • from The Christian Science Monitor - August 3, 1994. David Sterritt

  • "To be only spectacular should be 5 or 10 percent of cinema."
    • ibid.

  • "American pictures usually have no subject, only a story. A pretty woman is not a subject. Julia Roberts doing this and that is not a subject."
    • ibid.

  • "Movies in Hollywood now, for the past 20 or 30 years, are made mainly by lawyers or agents."
    • ibid.


  • [When he received a pie in the face at the Cannes film festival in 1985, he licked pie off of his cigar and said]:
    "C'est ce qui arrive quand le cinema muet rencontre le cinema a textes."
    "This is what happens when silent movies meet talking pictures."
  • I write essays in the form of novels, or novels in the form of essays. I'm still as much of a critic as I ever was during the time of 'Cahiers du Cinema.' The only difference is that instead of writing criticism, I now film it.
  • Movies are a world of Fragments.
  • I make film to make time pass.
  • It’s not where you take things from-it’s where you take them to.
  • Up to now...since shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution...most movie makers have been assuming that they know how to make movies. Just like a bad writer doesn't ask himself if he's really capable of writing a novel...he thinks he knows. If movie makers were building airplanes, there would be an accident every time one took off. But in the movies, these accidents are called Oscars.
  • I don't think you should feel about a movie. You should feel about a woman. You can't kiss a movie.
  • A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.
  • Film is like a personal diary, a notebook or a monologue by someone who tries to justify himself before a camera.
  • There is no point in having sharp images when you've fuzzy ideas.
  • Every edit is a lie.
  • What I want above all is to destroy the idea of culture. Culture is an alibi of imperialism. There is a Ministry of War. There is a Ministry of Culture. Therefore, culture is war.
  • [speaking at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival about filmmaker Michael Moore]:
    Post-war filmmakers gave us the documentary, Rob Reiner gave us the mockumentary and Moore initiated a third genre, the crockumentary.[Godard had not actually seen Michael Moore's film at the time.]
  • "To be or not to be. That's not really a question."
  • "This is not a just image, this is just an image."
  • "Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho." " I am a Marxist of the Groucho variety." This quote comes the May 1968 student revolution in France. See that article for details.
  • "Cinema is the domain of rich white guys"

See also

External links

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