French-Swiss film director Jean-Luc Godard, who pioneered the French New Wave cinema in the 60s, has died at the age of 91.
His death was first reported by the French newspaper Libération, citing people close to the director. The family lawyer confirmed that he died by assisted suicide, according to AFP.
Godard was born on December 3, 1930 in Paris into a wealthy family. From his debut feature film “Breathless” in 1960 to his latest feature “The Image Book” in 2018, Godard has remained at the cutting edge of the language of cinema, generating praise and controversy throughout his career.
Instrumental in the French New Wave or the ‘Nouvelle Vague’ era of cinema, Godard’s career is defined by his experiments with filmmaking techniques and a mix of political and philosophical themes in his work.
Godard’s first feature film, ‘Breathless’, was about a nihilistic hero modeled after Humphrey Bogart, who seduces an American woman after he previously killed a police officer. Much of Godard’s career would be defined by his use of unconventional jump editing, overt cinematic references, naturalistic acting, and philosophical dialogue.
Godard quickly rose to international fame alongside his colleagues François Truffaut and Alain Resnais, who released their first films, ‘The 400 Blows’ and ‘Hiroshima mon amour’, respectively, last year.
Breathless is often cited as one of the best films ever made and kicked off the career of its star, Jean-Paul Belmondo, who received national praise from French President Emmanuel Macron at his funeral last year.
Godard’s career continued to experiment with form and philosophy through works such as ‘Masculin Féminin’, ‘La Chinoise’ and ‘Week End’. He won the Jury Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival with his penultimate feature film ‘Goodbye to Dile’.