Jean-Luc Godard. Was there ever a more interesting, enigmatic figure in French cinema? I don’t think so.
From his films, cryptic at best sometimes, to the revolution he organized along with François Truffaut which shut down the Festival de Cannes in 1968, from his reclusive almost invisible life in these later years, to his latest masterpiece ‘The Image Book’, Godard was, is and always will be the Greta Garbo of French filmmakers.
Interesting, fascinating to behold and full of inner and outer grace.
So to find him in Lausanne, making a rare live appearance in present day and form, accepting the FIAF 2019 award from Frédéric Maire — President of FIAF, director of the Cinémathèque Suisse and former head of Locarno Film Festival — at the Casino de Montbenon, home of the Cinematheque Suisse, is legendary.
For the occasion, a few historical photographs were made public and it’s a shame not to share the elusive, aloof face of the legendary director while they are available. He is, and always will be, the Maestro of the French Nouvelle Vague.
From the FIAF press release, a bit of info on Godard:
“Born in 1930 in Paris, holding dual French and Swiss citizenship, Jean-Luc Godard is one of the world’s leading film directors and one of the last living exponents of the French Nouvelle Vague. Throughout his career he has experimented with new ways of telling stories and making films that have influenced many younger filmmakers.”
And from Maire, the explanation to attribute this year's FIAF Award to Jean-Luc Godard:
"Jean-Luc Godard's creativity is deeply rooted in his vast knowledge of film history and his years as a film critic for Cahiers du Cinéma. He is a spiritual son of the Cinémathèque française and Henri Langlois, whom he unfailingly supported through difficult times in the aftermath of May 1968. He has also been always greatly interested in filming techniques, from light cameras to state-of-the-art digital equipment, helping to develop new 35mm small, light cameras with Jean-Pierre Beauviala (Aaton) and experimenting with 3D (in Adieu au langage) and 7.1 sound (in Le Livre d’image). In the early 1970s he was also one of the first French filmmakers, together with Carole Roussopoulos, to explore the possibilities of the portable Sony video system.”
And finally, about FIAF:
“The International Federation of Film Archives, is a global organization dedicated to the preservation of, and access to, the world’s film heritage. Founded in June 1938 with four members (the British Film Institute in London, the Cinémathèque française in Paris, MoMA in New York, and the Reichsfilmarchiv in Berlin), as of 2018 FIAF brings together 166 institutions in 75 countries – reflecting the growth of film heritage as a worldwide concern. FIAF fosters solidarity, exchange and cooperation between the most prominent cinematheques and film archives worldwide. FIAF's mission comprises the rescue, collection, preservation, screening, and promotion of films, which are valued both as works of art & culture and as historical documents.”