27. Jean-Luc Godard
BREATHLESS, BAND OF OUTSIDERS, ALPHAVILLE
One of the founding fathers of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard began as a film critic, writing for “Cahiers du Cinema” in the early 50s along with fellow New Wavers, Francois Truffaut and Eric Rohmer. By the end of the 50s, Godard began making films of his own; post-modern takes on American cinema. His first major film, Breathless, in story terms a fairly formulaic story of a French hood and an American girl, broke all sorts of film rules with its stripped-down, hand-held style and frenetic editing. Godard became synonymous with the use of jarring jump cuts, though he never actually used them all that often. His canon in the 60s continued to innovate and push boundaries, with works including Band of Outsiders, Alphaville, and Pierrot Le Fou. He is perhaps best known for his collaborations with his former wife, Danish actress Anna Karina. One can actually witness the progression of their relationship by the way he shoots her, from the loving close-ups of Vivre Sa Vie (1962) to the distant, unromantic wide shots in Made in U.S.A. (1966) He always played with the artifice of film itself and would routinely have characters break the fourth wall or acknowledge the film itself. While his left-wing politics were always evident, by the mid-to-late 60s, his films were very overtly Communist, including the film Sympathy for the Devil in 1968 where rather stagnant shots of the Rolling Stones recording the eponymous song are matched with staged scenes of Leftist rallies and uprisings. Though he has remained incredibly prolific over his 50 year career, his greatest contribution to cinema remains the 15 feature films he made between 1959 and 1967.
See the full list HERE.