Godard is a French filmmaker perhaps best known for his way of challenging Hollywood. One of the most influential members of the Nouvelle Vague or “The French Wave”, he is universally recognized as both radical and stylistic. His work reflected a profound respect and knowledge of film history, but also a very deep understanding of Marxist philosophy.
Godard was born in Paris by French-Swiss parents and was schooled in Switzerland. Later on, when he was at the Sorbonne he studied ethnology and it was at this time he also found his way closer to a group of filmmakers and film theorists who would become the Nouvelle Vague.
It is often said that Godard sought an artistic outlet and to open a discussion about international conflict in his films, such as the Algerian War of Independence which he dealt with in Le Petit Soldat. And, he is often recognized for showing a multifaceted view of this conflict rather than pushing any particular political viewpoint.
But Godard was also very concerned with issues in his contemporary France. An example of this would be Vivre sa Vie, the portrayal of a French prostitute.
His most celebrated time period is maybe 1960-1967. This time period in Paris was not ruled by one very clear movement. Instead Paris experienced flashes of opposing takes on various international conflicts such as colonialism. Godard’s first feature from this time was Breathless, 1960. During this time Godard was very focused on narrative and he often referred to various times/events/films in film history. Another example of this is Week End, 1967.
Following this period, Godard made a sharp u-turn in his work. Instead of the strong narrative focus and celebration of film history his work became more revolutionary, and he started to refer to cinema history as bourgeois (which essentially meant it had no worth).
While Godard’s most famous work was created in the 1960’s, he has continued to make films that move. And, it is possible that he created the most important work of his career as late as in the 1990s. Histoires du Cinema is a celebration of his video work and the issues of history of film.
During his career in film Godard has won 30 significant industry awards and earned 28 nominations. One of his most famous quotes to date is “You don't make a movie, the movie makes you.