Jean-Luc Godard is a French-Swiss film director. He is also a film critic and a playwright. Godard is mainly associated with La Nouvelle Vague, a French film movement that was popular during the 1960s. During his time, Godard criticized “Tradition of Quality” type of cinema. It was a mainstream cinema in France. It emphasized craft over innovation. The company also prioritized the established director over the new ones (Morrey 34). Godard also criticized the cinema for preferring the great works of the past experimentation.
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In this paper, the writer will take a look at the works of Godard in cinema and film production. The impact of his legacy on the production field will also be reviewed. To achieve this objective, the author will use Breathless, one of Godard’s films.
Techniques used by Godard to Achieve a Real Representation of the World
Godard’s Breathless is a representation of the high water mark of the French New Wave movement (Breathless). The movement was concerned with the production of the French film. It was associated with various changes in the production stream. It saw a group of intellectuals, the Parisian cinephiles, oppose the stuffy formality (Morrey 56). The community also revealed an anarchic style. The style rendered straight narratives irrelevant. The community also celebrated a free-flowing and carefree visual style.
To achieve a realistic representation of the world, Godard adopts a simple plot in the production of Breathless. It is a story and not a theme. In addition, the film brings together a number of genres. They include crime, comedy, and love (Breathless). All these are elements found in the real world. The first approach makes Breathless look like a typical detective film. Godard avoids ‘staying right’ to any genre (Godard and Ishaghpour 88). The film has some errors. The reason is that Godard shot the film without a complete script. The film also has another mistake. It has a general storyline. Godard created the film on a daily basis for a period of four weeks.
In Breathless, Michel shoots the policeman. Instead of using close-ups of the two characters’ faces to bring out their emotions, the producer focuses on the gun (Breathless). The technique deployed here makes the death of the police officer ‘unprejudiced’ (Godard and Ishaghpour 21). In addition, there is no scene where Michel and the police officer are shown together. Michel’s image is a representation of Godard. The film ends in an ambiguous manner. The reason is that Godard did not resolve what ‘disgusting’ means. The element is dignified by either Patricia’s betrayal or Michel’s death. In Godard’s opinion, Breathless is a metaphorical death of scene. The death is depicted by how Poiccard is always raising concerns about death. Michel also asks questions about it. The view employs the use of mise-en-scene and dialogue. It is expressed by the interaction between Michel and Patricia (Breathless). All these techniques help Godard to achieve a realistic representation of the world.
The Use of Documentary Techniques to Create an Objective View of Characters
Godard uses documentary techniques in the production of Breathless and other films. The new wave is regarded as an example of European art cinema. The film uses portable equipment. In addition, it requires little or no setup time (Morrey 12). The new wave of film is a representation of what is utilized in the documentary. The sound is directed to the film stock. The stock does not require a lot of light. There are various filming techniques employed by Godard. They include, among others, long takes, fragmentation, and alternating expurgation. As a result, Godard is able to create an unbiased point of view of his characters. The film uses a combination of object realism, authorial commentary, and subjective realism (Breathless). There is ambiguity in the narrative of the movie. The ambiguity is evident given that most of the questions raised in the film are not addressed.
Jump Cut: A Comment on Traditional Cinema
Godard adopts the use of ‘jump cut’ in Breathless. The technique is an abrupt transition. In traditional cinema, the sequence is used to ‘jump’ characters from one point to the other (Godard and Ishaghpour 45). The jumping lacks continuity. Continuity is important in traditional cinema. It has been long since the technique was last used in film production. Godard amazed many critics by adopting it in Breathless.
Another example of how Godard focuses on traditional cinema is when he explains how discontinuity of lines is heard (Breathless). The highlight is seen from a series of shots from a stolen car. The interval from one shot to the other is filled by the position of head of the actress. Jump cut gives the illusion of jumping in time.
Breathless is still one of the best films in the market. Godard uses various techniques to produce this film. A realistic representation of the world is seen from some of the ‘time’ techniques. Such styles as discontinuous editing and jump cut make the film more appealing to the viewers.
Godard, Jean-Luc, and Youssef Ishaghpour. Cinema: The Archaeology of Film and the Memory of a Century. Berg Publishers, 2005.
Godard, Jean-Luc, director. Breathless. Rialto Pictures, 1960.
Morrey, Douglas. Jean-Luc Godard. Manchester University Press, 2005.