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Giant of French new wave…

GENEVA (AP) Jean-Luc Godard, the iconic enfant terrible of the French New Wave who revolutionized popular cinema in 1960 along with his first feature, Breathless, and stood for a long time on the list of film worlds most influential directors, died Tuesday. He was 91.

Godard died peacefully and surrounded by family members at his home in the Swiss town of Rolle, on Lake Geneva, his family said in a statement. The statement gave assisted suicide, that is legal in Switzerland, because the reason behind death.

A medical report recently revealed the director had multiple invalidating pathologies, based on the family statement, which didn’t specify the conditions.

Over an extended career that began in the 1950s as a film critic, Godard was possibly the most boundary-breaking director among New Wave filmmakers who rewrote the guidelines for camera, sound and narrative rebelling against a youthful tradition of more formulaic storytelling.

For the low-budget Breathless, Godard relied on a mobile, lightweight camera to fully capture street scenes and reach moviegoers in a fresh way.

He dispensed with contrived backdrops and the artifice of Hollywood cinema of that time period, said one film expert. The impact was immediate Breathless arrived such as a cinematic thunderclap when it had been released in 1960 and lasting.

Theres a little bit of Godard in almost all films today, said Frederic Maire, president of the Swiss Cinematheque. Almost all directors who’ve attended film school today, or learned movie-making at cinematheques, have observed Godards films and were amazed, jolted and shocked by his method of telling stories.

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute, saying: We’ve lost a national treasure, the attention of a genius.

Godard caused a few of the best-known actors in French cinema, such as for example Jean-Paul Belmondo, who was simply propelled to stardom through the directors films, and Brigitte Bardot, who starred in his acclaimed 1963 work Contempt.

Beyond that, he profiled the first Rolling Stones, gave a voice to Marxist, leftist and 1960s-era Black Power politics, and his controversial modern nativity play Hail Mary grabbed headlines when Pope John Paul II denounced it in 1985.

Even though many of his works were lauded, Godard also made a string of films which were politically charged and experimental, and pleased few outside a little circle of fans, while frustrating many critics who saw them as filled up with overblown intellectualism.

Cannes Film Festival Director Thierry Fremaux said by phone he was sad, sad immensely so at the news headlines of Godards death.

Born right into a wealthy French-Swiss family on Dec. 3, 1930 in Paris, Godard was raised in Nyon, Switzerland, and studied ethnology at the Sorbonne, where he was increasingly attracted to the cultural scene that flourished in the Latin Quarter cine-club after World War II.

He became friends with future big-name directors Francois Truffaut, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer, and in 1950 founded the short-lived Gazette du Cinema. By 1952 he previously begun writing for the prestigious movie magazine Cahiers du Cinema.

After focusing on two films by Rivette and Rohmer in 1951, Godard tried to direct his first movie whilst travelling through North and SOUTH USA along with his father, but never finished it.

Back Europe, he took employment in Switzerland as a construction worker on a dam project. He used the pay to finance his first complete film, the 1954 Operation Concrete, a 20-minute documentary concerning the building of the dam.

Time for Paris, Godard worked as spokesman for an artists agency and continued to hone his writing.

He also began focus on Breathless, predicated on a tale by Truffaut.

The celebrities Belmondo as a penniless young thief who models himself on Hollywood movie gangsters and who, after he shoots a officer, continues on the run along with his American girlfriend, played by Jean Seberg.

Godards cinematic creations were suffused with the gritty, sassy tones of a resurgent postwar France known domestically because the Glorious 30 years to the late 1970s — plus they served up many of the most poignant images and lines from that which was a rich, avant-garde heyday of French filmmaking.

The images in Breathless of an ingenue Seberg traipsing along Paris Champs-Elyses loudly hawking NY Herald Tribune newspapers in a good T-shirt, and close-ups of a cigarette-smoking, fedora-wearing Belmondo owning a thumb methodically, pensively across his lips could possibly be enshrined being among the most memorable images of French cinema.

Alongside Truffauts The 400 Blows, released in 1959, Godards film set a fresh tone for French movie aesthetics. Godard rejected conventional narrative style and instead used frequent jump-cuts that mingled philosophical discussions with action scenes. He spiced everything up with references to Hollywood gangster movies and nods to literature and visual art.

Godard also launched that which was to become a career-long participation in collective film projects, contributing scenes to The Seven Deadly Sins alongside directors such as for example Claude Chabrol and Roger Vadim. He also caused Ugo Gregoretti, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Roberto Rossellini on the Italian movie Lets Have a Brainwash, with Godards scenes portraying a disturbing post-Apocalypse world.

Godard, who was simply later to get a reputation for his uncompromising left-wing political views, had an initial brush with French authorities in 1960 when he made THE TINY Soldier. The movie, filled up with references to Frances colonial war in Algeria, had not been released until 1963, per year following the conflict ended.

His work turned more starkly political by the late 1960s. In Weekend, his characters lampoon hypocrisy in bourgeois society even while they demonstrate the comic futility of violent class war. It arrived per year before popular anger at the establishment shook France, culminating in the iconic but short-lived student unrest of May 1968.

Godard harbored a life-long sympathy for various types of socialism depicted in films from the first 1970s to the 1990s.

A few of global cinemas greatest directors counted Godards boundary-breaking are an influence, including Quentin Tarantino, Bernardo Bertolucci, Brian De Palma and Jonathan Demme.

Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky tweeted: learned a whole lot from my vhs copy of breathless many thanks maestro.

Godard took potshots at Hollywood through the years.

He remained home in Switzerland instead of happen to be Hollywood to get an honorary Oscar at an exclusive ceremony in November 2010 alongside film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, director-producer Francis Ford Coppola and actor Eli Wallach.

His lifelong advocacy of the Palestinian cause also brought him repeated accusations of antisemitism, despite his insistence he sympathized with the Jewish people and their plight in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Although academy received some complaints about Godard being selected to get the award, academy President Tom Sherak said the director was recognized solely for his contributions to film in the brand new Wave era.

Godard married Danish-born model and actress Anna Karina in 1961. She appeared in a string of movies he made through the remainder of the 1960s, every one of them viewed as New Wave landmarks. Notable included in this were MY ENTIRE LIFE to call home, Alphaville and Crazy Pete which also starred Belmondo and was rumored to possess been shot with out a script. Godard and Karina divorced in 1965.

Godard married his second wife, Anne Wiazemsky, in 1967. He later started a relationship with Swiss filmmaker Anne-Marie Mieville. Godard divorced Wiazemsky in 1979, after he previously moved with Mieville to Rolle, where he lived with her for the others of his life.


Adamson reported from Paris. Former AP correspondent John Heilprin contributed biographical material to the report.

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