Close Up

4 - 25 May 2018: Close-Up on Jean-Luc Godard


A pioneer of the French new wave, Jean-Luc Godard has had an incalculable effect on modern cinema that refuses to wane. Before directing, Godard was an ethnology student and a critic for Cahiers du cinéma, and his approach to filmmaking reflects his interest in how cinematic form intertwines with social reality. His groundbreaking debut feature, Breathless – his first and last mainstream success – is, of course, essential Godard: its strategy of merging high (Mozart) and low (American crime thrillers) culture has been mimicked by generations of filmmakers. As the sixties progressed, Godard’s output became increasingly radical, both aesthetically and politically, until by 1968 he had forsworn commercial cinema altogether, forming a leftist filmmaking collective (the Dziga Vertov Group) and making such films as Tout va bien. Today Godard remains our greatest lyricist on historical trauma, religion, and the legacy of cinema.

Jean-Luc Godard
1960 | 90 min | B/W | Digital
French with English subtitles

Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinéma. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, Breathless helped launch the French New Wave and ensured that cinema would never be the same. read more

Vivre sa vie
Jean-Luc Godard
1962 | 82 min | B/W | Digital
French with English subtitles

Vivre sa vie was a turning point for Jean-Luc Godard and remains one of his most dynamic films, combining brilliant visual design with a tragic character study. Anna Karina, plays Nana, a young Parisian who aspires to be an actress but instead ends up a prostitute, her downward spiral depicted in a series of discrete tableaux of daydreams and dances. read more

Le mépris
Jean-Luc Godard
1963 | 102 min | Colour | Digital
French, German & Italian with English subtitles

Godard’s subversive foray into commercial filmmaking is a star-studded Cinemascope epic. Jack Palance plays a producer who brings screenwriter Michel Piccoli and his wife (Bardot) to Cinécittà to work on Lang’s adaptation of The Odyssey, and the conflicts between commerce and art, the ancient and the modern, the legendary and the mundane, the tender and the cruel commence. read more

Pierrot le fou
Jean-Luc Godard
1965 | 110 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo leave middle class life behind for a life on the run, out in the trees under the sun and the stars, by the wide blue sea. read more

The Passion of Joan of Arc
Carl Theodor Dreyer
1928 | 100 min | B/W | Digital
Silent with English intertitles

The close-up of the tear-stained face of Marie Falconetti in Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc is one of the most famous images in all of cinema. The film brings a rigorous formal style, exquisite cinematography, and striking architectural sets to bear on the moral questions that surround Joan, her judges, and her ultimate fate. read more