Jean-Luc Godard is one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema. He is both a filmmaker and an artist, and his films are often considered to be challenging, provocative, and thought-provoking.

Godard was born in Switzerland on May 20th, 1930.

Best Jean-Luc Godard Films

 Jean-Luc Godard is one of the most influential directors in film history, and his work has influenced both contemporary filmmakers as well as future generations.

Here are some of his best films.

1. Pierrot le Fou (1965) 

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. With Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Michel Subor, Jacques Brel. An older man tries to win the affection of a young girl by impersonating her brother.

Pierrot le fou is an odd film in that it’s not really a comedy at all. It’s more like an experiment in form: first we have a low-key drama about a man who pretends to be his lover’s brother so that he can have sex with her; then we cut back to the real brother,

who has had his identity stolen by this impostor and is trying to figure out how to get it back; then we cut back again – this time to their father – who has also been duped into thinking his son is his daughter’s boyfriend. And then finally we cut back again – this time to Pierrot himself,

who has become so obsessed with the idea of transforming himself into a woman that he can’t think straight anymore.

It’s a lot of jumping around, but somehow it all hangs together thanks to Godard’s fantastic sense of composition and editing: you never feel like

Pierrot le Fou
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Jean-Luc Godard (Writer) - Georges de Beauregard (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

2. Contempt (1963)

Jean-Luc Godard, who died in 2022, was one of the most influential figures in cinema. While he grew up to be a director, he made his first film when he was just 21 years old.

Contempt is a classic of French cinema, and it has been critically acclaimed for its political themes and ingenuity. It tells the story of an idealistic leftist writer (Anna Karina) who falls in love with a young man (Jean-Paul Belmondo).

When she learns that he is involved with the Communist Party, she leaves him to go live with her father in Paris. While there, she meets another young man (Daniel Bénesteau), who has just arrived from Algeria.

The two fall in love and decide to flee together back to Paris. They take refuge at a safe house where they meet other activists who are also planning on going underground after the June 24th student riots that took place during their stay there.

It’s hard not to see Contempt as an allegory for the French student movement of 1968. Godard’s film features several scenes that reference actual events such as the May 1968 protests against de Gaulle’s decision not to run for President again after having served two terms

Contempt (Aka Le Mepris) (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Jean-Luc Godard (Writer) - Georges de Beauregard (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

3. Breathless (1960)  

Breathless is a 1960 French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard and starring Jean Seberg, Claude Brasseur, and Jean-Paul Belmondo. It was written by Jean-Paul Sartre.

The film’s title refers to the common slang for “breathless”, meaning that a person has been overcome by emotion. The film is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel Strangers on a Train.

The film begins with two lovers, Michel and Anna, who are in love with each other but are also infatuated with their spouses. Anna is married to Michel’s brother, Robert, who is an unsuccessful writer,

while Anna’s husband is Jacques Benoit, a successful novelist. They go out together on a train ride where they come across Bruno (Barry Kelley), an American psychopathic hitchhiker who meets them at the station and then takes them on a ride through Paris while they attempt to escape from him.

The narrative structure follows three different plot lines: that of the couple; that of Bruno; and that of his girlfriend Sofie (Yolande Donzelli).

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Breathless [DVD]
  • Breathless
  • Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Franois Truffaut (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

4. Weekend (1967)

The somewhat melancholy and introspective, but also strikingly modern, Weekend was the first film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. A satirical look at the frustrations of the audience while they wait for their favorite entertainers to perform, this movie has become something of a classic in its own right.

Weekend is one of those rare movies that can be enjoyed just as much by someone who has never seen it as by someone who has seen it multiple times.

The story is simple: a couple goes to see a concert by their favorite singer, but when they find out she’s in a coma, they decide to go home instead. However, once there, they watch television instead of going out into the world.

The movie ends with their death from an overdose of sleeping pills – an ironic twist on how we often feel about our lives as we pass through them in real life.

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Weekend (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

5. Vivre Sa Vie (1962)

Vivre Sa Vie is a film by Jean-Luc Godard, directed in 1962 and released in 1963. It is the first feature film to be shot entirely in color, although it was not released until after his next film, Alphaville. The film consists of three parts: Sa vie, La vie est à nous (Life Is a Miracle), and Vivre sa vie.

The film begins with a voiceover from Jean-Luc Godard who explains that he has been asked to make a short film about life in France at the beginning of the 21st century.

He says he will not be able to do so because he does not believe in giving advice or answers but rather showing how things are. As he narrates, we see a series of images from around France as well as clips from previous films by Jean-Luc Godard including Le Mépris and Le Petit Soldat.

The voiceover ends with him saying that he wants to show the world that “through art and through life” things can change for the better; he then shows images of people smiling at each other during the French Revolution and later during World War II when people were dying on both

Vivre sa vie (Blu-ray) [1962]
  • The disk has English subtitles.
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

6. Passion (1982)

Passion is the story of two men who fall in love with the same woman and then kill her, because they want to be together. The plot is simple enough, but it’s not so simple to understand what’s going on.

If you can’t tell why these people are doing what they’re doing, then Passion is not for you.

It’s not that I don’t understand it. It’s just that I don’t see any point in trying to figure out why passion is passion. There are so many things that seem like passion that aren’t really passions: ambition, jealousy and anger are all examples.

Passion seems like a lot of trouble for so little gain; after all, what do people do for fun? But if you try to define passion in terms of pleasure or satisfaction, then Passion loses its meaning entirely. It becomes something like happiness: joy at being alive and having life around you.

7. First Name: Carmen (1983)    

The film begins with a gang of teenage boys walking through a field, playing football. They are all wearing denim jackets with the word “Godard” stitched onto their backs. The camera pans up their backs to reveal that they are all wearing the same jacket.

The film then cuts to an adult man, who is talking on the phone with someone named Carmen. He tells her that he wants to see her and has arranged for her to meet him in a coffee shop.

He tells her that he will be there by six thirty, but she should not tell anyone else about it. She agrees to come and hangs up the phone just before she hears the sound of footsteps behind her. At this point the scene cuts back to the teenagers playing football and comes back into focus as one of them takes his shirt off and reveals his own name stitched onto his back: Jean Luc Godard

First Name: Carmen
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Maruschka Detmers, Jacques Bonnaffé, Myriem Roussel (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Anne-Marie Miéville (Writer) - Alain Sarde (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

8. Every Man for Himself (1980)

Philosopher Roland Barthes once wrote, “Every man is a star”, and that’s exactly what Every Man for Himself is about. While the film may not be one of Godard’s best, it’s still an interesting enough experience to make it worth watching at least once.

In the film, two men are driving in a car through France. They’re both talking about their lives and their wives as they drive along. The first man tells his story and then his friend talks about his wife as well.

The first man then returns to telling his story about how he became rich, which leads into a discussion about whether or not money makes you happy. Eventually, both men end up arguing with one another and arguing over who has the right to be happy in life.

   

This film doesn’t really have much of a plot other than these two men arguing over what makes someone happy in life; however, there are some interesting things that happen during this argument between them.

First off, there’s a lot of symbolism involved here that helps give context to some of the things being said between these two men onscreen while they’re arguing back and forth with one another over what makes someone happy in life. In

Every Man for Himself (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc, Nathalie Baye (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Anne-Marie Miéville (Writer) - Alain Sarde (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)

9. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)

A very simple and beautiful movie. The contrast between the two characters, the girl and the boy, is very strong. The boy is always in control of his emotions, while the girl is not. The boy knows what he wants and how to get it, while the girl is confused by everything around her.

The girl has to leave her house because her father is getting married again and because she doesn’t want to be like her mother who is always unhappy with her husband (and vice versa).

She goes to live with an old man who owns a shop where she cleans for him. Eventually he falls in love with her and wants to marry her but she doesn’t want anything from him except for his friendship.

The old man decides he needs some help from his son who lives abroad but isn’t interested in helping out at home either so he decides to send him money through his daughter instead so that she can buy a new dress for herself and make sure that she gets married too!

10. Masculin Féminin (1966)

Masculin Féminin is a film about the relationship between a woman and an artist. In this case, it’s the male artist and the female artist. The man is Jean-Luc Godard, and the woman is Alain Delon.

The film was written by Godard with Anna Karina as inspiration for his next project after Breathless (1960). It was shot on location in Paris over a period of two and a half weeks in December 1965.

The actress who plays Karina in the film is not actually Anna Karina but one of her doubles; she was chosen because she looked like her.

In this story, she is an actress who has been cast in a new film by Jean-Luc Godard called Masculine Feminine. The two characters are based on real people who had an affair while they were filming Breathless together in 1960.

Masculin Feminin (1966) (Criterion Collection) UK Only [Blu-ray] [2021]
  • The disk has English audio and subtitles.
  • English (Subtitle)

11. Nouvelle vague (1990)

The Nouvelle Vague was a movement in cinema that occurred between the late 1950s and early 1970s. It was a time when directors like François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut and the Dardenne Brothers broke away from the traditional Hollywood style of filmmaking.

The film’s title refers to the French word for new wave, nouvelle vague. The word was coined by François Truffaut after seeing American films in Mexico City on his way back from an expedition to Alaska with his friend Antoine Doinel.

The Nouvelle Vague was also known as la nouvelle vague (“the new wave”), a term popularized by critic André Bazin. Bazin used it in relation to their subversion of classical Hollywood styles and techniques;

he saw them as having broken away from official cultural norms.[1] Some critics have argued that it has become just another term used by critics of contemporary French cinema.[2]

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Jean-Luc Godard - Nouvelle Vague (1990 film) [SOUNDTRACK]
  • Audio CD – Audiobook
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/31/2000 (Publication Date) - Ecm Import (Publisher)

12. Band of Outsiders (1964)     

Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders is a film about the power of cinema to change the world. It is also about the power of cinema to change what one sees as reality.

The movie opens with a voiceover from François (Jean Seberg), a young woman who has recently run away from her family and their strict Catholic ways. She tells us that she had “no idea” where she was going when she left home,

and we see her walking down a road with no destination in mind. But then, as she reaches the end of the road, she comes across a train station and boards it without hesitation. She sits quietly, lost in thought and staring out at the passing countryside as it goes by outside her window.

This is an image that will recur throughout the film: a woman sitting alone in an empty room or gathering place, lost in thought as she stares out at everything around her.

It’s both comforting and startling you feel like you’re watching someone who needs help but doesn’t know how to ask for it yet; you want to reach out and tell them everything will be all right but can’t quite bring yourself to do it

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Band of Outsiders (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Danile Girard (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Dolores Hitchens (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

13. Origins of the 21st Century (2000)   

The film is a satirical commentary on contemporary life and politics, with special focus on the true nature of modernity. The film’s title is taken from the short story “Origins of the 21st Century” by French writer Michel Houellebecq, which was published in 1998.

The first part of the film consists of a series of interviews with people from around the world who are disillusioned with modern society. These include a former member of Greenpeace,

an illegal immigrant from Italy who was deported from France for theft, a Japanese man who has lost his job due to automation and an American student who has been unable to find work since graduating from college.

The second part takes place in a public school where students are being taught about what they should be doing in their lives. They will be given a choice between two roads: one leading to success and wealth;

the other leading to mediocrity and poverty. One boy stands up and says he does not want either road; he wants neither success nor wealth but rather freedom and happiness as he sees them as synonymous terms more than anything else.

A girl also speaks up saying that she wants neither road either; she wants to be free like everyone else

Great Lives from History: The 21st Century, 2000-2017 [Print Purchase includes Free Online Access]
  • Hardcover Book
  • Salem Press (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1000 Pages - 12/04/2017 (Publication Date) - Salem Press (Publisher)

14. Alphaville (1965)     

 There is no such thing as a typical Jean-Luc Godard film. His work is too varied and idiosyncratic to be categorized by genre or style. And yet, there are certain things that make his films more immediately recognizable than other filmmakers’ works. One of these is the use of an offhand, unironic style of narration.

In many of his films, Godard uses voiceover (often in the form of a voiceover narration) to reveal information about characters’ lives and relationships.

These narratives often serve as a way for Godard to comment on broader existential issues like technology or capitalism, but they also function as a means of connecting the audience with what’s happening on screen.

But Alphaville (1965) is perhaps the best example of this kind of storytelling we’ve seen from Godard yet. The film begins with a voiceover narration from its protagonist, Alphonse, explaining why he left his home town in France and moved to Berlin: “I wanted something else,” he says. “Alphonse wanted something else.”

Alphaville
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Jean-Luc Godard (Writer) - Andre Michelin (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

15. Le Petit Soldat (1963)            

Le Petit Soldat is a short film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It was first released on October 16, 1963 and is 32 minutes long. It was shot using a simple black and white 16mm camera with no sound track.

It has been described as being “Godard’s most formally abstract film”,[1] and the opening sequence, which consists of an image of actress Anna Karina in a swimming pool alongside the sound of a baby crying, has been called “one of the most famous images in all of cinema”.

[2] One critic pointed out that this film differs from other recent French movies by focusing on what it calls “the human condition”.

The film begins with several shots of Anna Karina running through fields and then jumping into a lake while holding her arms outstretched.[3] The soundtrack consists solely of her voice singing an opera song titled “L’Amour et la Mort” (“Love and Death”).

The scene then cuts to footage from the film La Chinoise (1967), which shows Anna Karina holding herself up against a wall while holding her hands together in prayer.[4][5][6]

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Le petit soldat (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

16. All the Boys Are Called Patrick (1959)

The film is a critique of 1950s film noir and its suburban setting, which is contrasted with the city life of the protagonist.

The film’s title derives from the last line of James M Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, which was adapted into a 1949 film noir crime thriller starring Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner.

In All the Boys Are Called Patrick, Bernard Blier plays Patrick, a police detective who is sent to investigate a series of murders committed by two teenage girls in a small town on the French Riviera. He discovers that one of them had an affair with his own son Michel before killing him in revenge for having killed her sister.

The film is set during the 1950s, when France was beginning to be affected by what Godard called “the new existentialism”, or ideas about freedom and individuality that had been formulated in the 1940s by writers such as Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre.

In this context, Patrick’s initial investigation into possible motives for murder becomes more complex when he finds himself attracted to a girl named Claire (Catherine Deneuve), who works at the local newspaper with her father (Jean Marais). His investigation takes

17. Puissance de la parole (1988)             

 Puissance de la parole (1988) is the fifth film from Jean-Luc Godard, and it’s an excellent example of his work at its most accessible. The film follows a group of friends in Paris as they go on a picnic to a cliffside beach in Brittany.

As they eat and drink and dance around on the beach, they begin to argue amongst themselves about politics, art and life itself.

The film’s dialogue is often long and wordy, but it never feels like it drags on or becomes too much of a slog to read. And while it may seem like an unlikely choice for an action film,

Puissance de la parole actually contains some fun moments that allow the characters to play off each other as they talk about their feelings about society, politics and art.

While it may not look like much from an aesthetic point of view – it’s shot using mostly natural light with some simple lines here and there – this is one of those films that really works as a narrative piece because it has so much depth beneath its surface simplicity. There’s nothing flashy about this movie; instead, you get

Puissance de la parole (French Edition)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Poe, Edgar Allan (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 06/09/2015 (Publication Date) - Bibebook (Publisher)

18. A Woman Is a Woman (1961)

Jean-Luc Godard’s A Woman Is a Woman is a classic of European art cinema, and one of the most influential films in the history of cinema. It’s also one of the most exciting to watch, thanks to its mix of style, narrative structure and camera movement.

A Woman Is a Woman was written by François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, who also directed it. It stars Brigitte Bardot as Catherine, an actress living in Paris who’s struggling to make ends meet while awaiting the arrival of her child from her relationship with another man.

When she meets Manu, played by Jean-Paul Belmondo whose character is based on his real life friend Jean-Pierre Léaud —she ends up falling in love with him.

She tries to get out of her relationship with Manu but he won’t let her go without a fight; meanwhile, she’s being hounded by several men who want her for different reasons.

The film takes place over the course of one day and is split into three parts: “Day,” “Night” and “Day.” In each part Catherine interacts with someone from their lives — either from work or outside of work while also experiencing emotional

A Woman Is a Woman
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jean-Paul Belmondo (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Jean-Luc Godard (Writer) - Georges de Beauregard (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)

19. A Flirtatious Woman (1955)

In A Flirtatious Woman, Jean-Luc Godard presents a series of five interwoven vignettes about the life of a prostitute. The film begins with Anna Karina, as she arrives at one of her brothels, where she will spend the night entertaining customers.

She is there to make money for herself and her son, but she also knows that if she does not do well with her clients, her pimp will beat her and leave her for dead. The film then cuts to a man named Pascal who works as a clerk at an auto parts store but dreams of becoming an artist.

He meets Anna when she comes to his house with another man who wants him to repair his car. When Pascal realizes that Anna has been brought in on false pretenses,

he tells his wife about it and they decide to help Anna out by giving her money so she can pay off the debt she owes before going back out into prostitution again.

The next scene shows Anna driving down the road on her way home from work, singing along with the radio while driving

20. A Story of Water (1961)

A Story of Water is one of the most famous films by Jean-Luc Godard, who is also known for his films Breathless (1960), Vivre Sa Vie (1962), and Le Mépris (1963). The film was released in 1961 and stars Anna Karina as “Anna,”

Michel Piccoli as “Michel,” and Anna Karina’s husband Jean Seberg in a small role as “Pierre.” The film is set in France during the 1950s and 1960s, when there was much less pollution and human activity than today.

The main character is a woman named Anna who lives in a small town called Peronne with her husband Michel and their son Pierre, who is about to be married to a girl named Jeanne who lives across from them on another street.

The story begins with Anna trying to clean up after dinner while she waits for Michel to return from work at his office in Paris. When he finally gets home from work that evening, however, he tells her that he has

21. Charlotte and Her Boyfriend (1958) 

The film Charlotte and Her Boyfriend, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, tells the story of Charlotte, a young girl who becomes infatuated with a young man who lives in the same neighborhood.

The film is an interesting look at how a young woman can be influenced by an older man, but also shows that the relationship does not last long because the young man cannot accept Charlotte’s independence or her refusal to become his girlfriend.

Charlotte and Her Boyfriend takes place in Paris during the summer of 1958. We follow Charlotte as she grows up and becomes aware of boys around her age with whom she could potentially fall in love with.

She meets Bertrand and soon falls for him. However, when she asks him to kiss her, he refuses and walks away from her. This rejection causes Charlotte great pain and sadness because she believes that she has lost out on something important: romance.

Characteristics of Jean-Luc Godard Films

Jean-Luc Godard is one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. He has been called “the most radical director of all time,” and his films have been referred to as some of the greatest ever made.

His work has been featured in several retrospectives on his life and career by major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, and he has also been recognized with a number of awards over the years.

One common characteristic that Godard has shared with many other filmmakers is an interest in exploring political issues and beliefs through his films. While his approach to these subjects differs from that of others, it’s clear that he cares deeply about what he sees as important issues as well as how they can be portrayed on screen.

Another aspect of Godard’s filmmaking style that has led him to be considered one of cinema’s great directors is his ability to create compelling characters who are complex and interesting while also being grounded in reality.

His characters are often people who struggle with personal issues or situations that make them feel alienated from society at large, which makes them relatable regardless

Best Jean-Luc Godard Films – Wrapping Up

In the end, Jean-Luc Godard’s films are about love, whether it is romantic or platonic. His films are all about finding the one true love of your life.

Whether that be a person or an idea, he wants you to find the one thing that makes you happy and keep it forever.

Of course his films are also about sex, but they are more sexual than erotica. He explores what sex means in our society and how it can be used as a tool to explore power dynamics between men and women, people of different races and religions, etc..

His films are also about death and mortality in general. Death is something that everyone fears, but we all tend to forget about as we get older because we no longer see it as a threat.

 

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