Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Essential Jean-Luc Godard

Six more bold offerings from the influential art-film king; he was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2010 but said via his partner, Anne-Marie Miéville, that he was ”too old” to travel to L.A. for ”a piece of metal”

Posted on

Breathless, 1960
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg as lovers on the lam, Godard’s playful, pulpy entrée was, along with François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, the cinematic earthquake that triggered the French New Wave.

Band of Outsiders, 1964
Quentin Tarantino named his production company after this sprightly romp starring the director’s then wife and muse, Anna Karina. Its famous dance sequence is a jolt of joy, which QT homaged in Pulp Fiction.

Weekend, 1967
Before he ventured into a decade of impenetrable Maoist docs, Godard made this savage and droll critique of capitalism. The eight-minute tracking shot of a traffic jam is among the best long takes ever.

Contempt, 1963
One of the greatest movies about making movies, featuring a writer (Michel Piccoli) working for a hotheaded producer (Jack Palance) while jousting with his wife, played by Brigitte Bardot in all her resplendent blondness.

2 Or 3 Things I Know About Her, 1967
Whisper-narrated in a stream of opaqueness by Godard himself, this scrambled, challenging film features Marina Vlady as a bored woman who gazes gorgeously at the clouds in her coffee and becomes a prostitute.

Histoire(s) Du Cinéma, 1988-98
More than four hours long, this multipart video essay on movie history (sort of) is an arduous but rewarding experiment. Ideal for drifting in and out of, as if it were a cool museum installation.