French director Jean-Luc Godard dead at 91
Jean-Luc Godard, the ingenious “enfant terrible” of the French New Wave who revolutionized popular cinema in 1960 with his debut feature “Breathless” and stood for years as one of the world’s most vital and provocative directors has died. He was 91.
Swiss news agency ATS quoted Godard’s partner, Anne-Marie Mieville, and her producers as saying he died peacefully and surrounded by his loved ones at his home in the Swiss town of Rolle, on Lake Geneva, on Sept. 13.
French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Godard as “the most iconoclastic of the New Wave directors” who “invented a resolutely modern, intensely free art form.”
He added: “We have lost a national treasure, the eye of a genius.”
Godard defied convention over a long career that began in the 1950s as a film critic. He rewrote rules for camera, sound and narrative.
Born into a wealthy French-Swiss family on Dec. 3, 1930 in Paris, Godard grew up in Nyon, Switzerland, studied ethnology at the Sorbonne in France’s capital.
His films propelled Jean-Paul Belmondo to stardom and his controversial modern nativity play “Hail Mary” grabbed headlines when Pope John Paul II denounced it in 1985.
But Godard also made a string of films, often politically charged and experimental, which pleased few outside a small circle of fans and frustrated many critics through their purported overblown intellectualism.
Cannes Film Festival Director Thierry Fremaux told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he was “sad, sad. Immensely so” at the news of Godard’s death.