Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Directors Project: #48 - Jean-Luc Godard

Scene from Cinema Paradiso
With the many lists and essays written on the subject of film, there has been one thing that The Oscar Buzz has tried to understand: Who is my favorite of the film world? For 10 weeks this summer, I will be exploring this with a countdown of the Top 50 names based on a numerical ranking of ratings from various sources, the following is a list of directors who rank above everyone else. With occasional upsets, this is intended as both a discussion opener as well as a better understanding of me as a film critic and fan. Please enjoy and leave any comments you have regarding the entry's selection.


Years Active: 1950-Today

Films As Director: 43

Oscar Wins: 0

Who: As a member of Cahiers du Cinema, Godard was one of the prime figures in the French New Wave movement that came to fruition in the 60's. Much like his friend and competitor Francois Truffaut, he revolutionized French cinema by throwing everything against the wall and see what sticks. One of his biggest contributions includes being a prototype for Quentin Tarantino with conversations carrying entire scenes with focus on how pop culture influences personality and society. He was also more audacious than his peers, making films that were at times challenging while remaining distinctly Godard. He is a curious figure in cinema because of his weird penchant for experimentation and his notorious, often schizophrenic, editing and title cards.When he's on, he's one of the greats with a profound viewpoint not only on movies, but life.

Scene from Weekend
Breathless (1960) -

Flickchart Ranking: #28 (900 points)
IMDb Rating: 7/10 (70 points)
Perks: None
Total: 970 points

- Masculin Feminine (1966) -

Flickchart Ranking: #116 (800 points)
IMDb Rating: 7/10 (70 points)
Perks: None
Total: 870 points

- Weekend (1967) -

Flickchart Ranking: #450 (450 points)
IMDb Rating: 6/10 (60 points)
Perks: None
Total: 510

OVERALL TOTAL: 2350 points

Scene from Masculin Feminine
With such a prolific output, it is a shame that I have only recently within the past year gotten into Godard's work. While I generally feel that French New Wave is some of the best of classic cinema, I have enjoyed what little I have seen from him for his sheer ambition. He is innovative, youthful, and even strange. He may be stubborn with his work, but he is one of the few directors who feels distinctly like an artist without being overbearing about it. He perfectly captures youth, politics, and obsession in his films and demands your attention as he tries something new. He will likely continue to go up the ranks of favorites as I see more films by him. For now, Breathless and Masculin Feminine remain two of my all time favorite French New Wave films and I can only hope that there's more that is as great, if not better, than these.

UP NEXT: From film noir to cross dressing comedies, this director mixed cynicism with humor while becoming one of the most iconic directors in American cinema at his time.

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