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Jean-Luc Godard Biographical Timeline from 1930-1970


1930 - Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris, the second of four children in a bourgeois Franco-Swiss family. His father was a doctor who owned a private clinic, and his mother came from an preeminent family of Swiss bankers.

1940 -  Godard became a naturalized citizen of Switzerland and attended the school in Lyons.

1948 - Godard's parents divorced and he returned to Paris to attend the Lycée Rohmer.

1949 - Godard studied ethnology at the Sorbonne he began attending the 'ciné-club' and the cinéma in the Latin Quarter, where he made friends with 'André Bazin', François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, and Eric Rohmer.

1950 - Godard founded a "Gazette du cinéma" with Rivette and Rohmer, which published five issues between May and November. He wrote a number of articles for the journal, often using the pseudonym 'Hans Lucas'.

1951 - Godard's family cut off financial support after financing a few of his projects.  He was forced to resort to stealing food and money when necessary.

1952 - Godard began writing film criticism for 'Les cahiers du cinéma'. While traveling in South America later he attempted to make his first film (but only a tracking shot from a car was ever accomplished).

1953 - Godard returned to Paris briefly before getting a job as a construction worker on a dam project in Switzerland. With the money from the job, he made a short film about the building of the dam called Opération béton (Operation Concrete).

1956 - Godard wrote again for 'Les cahiers du cinéma'.

1957 - Godard made his first French film entitled Tous les garçons s'appellent Patrick (Charlotte et Véronique).

1958 - Godard shot Charlotte et son Jules (Charlotte and Her Boyfriend), his own homage to Jean Cocteau. He also took unused footage of a flood in Paris shot by Truffaut and edited a film called Une histoire d'eau (A Story of Water), a homage to Mack Sennett.

1959 - Godard worked with Truffaut on the weekly publication "Temps de Paris". Godard wrote a gossip column for the journal, but also spent much time writing scenarios for films and a body of critical writings which placed him firmly in the forefront of the 'nouvelle vague' aesthetic, precursing the French New Wave. It was also this year that Godard began working on À bout de souffle (Breathless). 

1960 - Godard shot Le petit soldat in 1960 and was preparing the film for a fall release in Paris. However, French censors banned the film due to its references to the Algerian war and it was not shown until 1963.   Later in 1960, À bout de souffle premiered in Paris. It was hugely successful both with the film critics and at the box office, and it became a landmark film in the French New Wave with its references to American cinema, its jagged editing, and its overall romantic/cinephilia approach to filmmaking.

1961 - Godard shot Une femme est une femme which was his first film using color wide-screen stock. Later that year, he participated in the collective effort to remake the film Les sept péchés capitaux, which was heralded as an important project in artistic collaboration.

1962 - Godard shot Vivre sa vie in Paris, his first commercial success since À bout de souffle. He also shot a segment entitled Le Nouveau Monde for the collective film RoGoPaG, another important work in the history of collaborative multiple-authored art.

1963 - Godard completed a film in homage to Jean Vigo entitled Les carabiniers which was a failure with the public and stirred furious controversy with film critics. Also this year, he worked on a couple of collective films: Les plus belles escroqueries du monde (from which Godard's sequence was later cut) and Paris vu par... .

1964 - Godard and his wife Anna Karina formed their own production company called 'Anouchka Films.' They shot a film called Une femme mariée, but censors forced them to re-edit due to a topless sunbathing scene shot by Jacques Rozier. The censors also made Godard change the title so that it did not give the impression that this 'scandalous' woman was the typical French wife. 

1965 - Godard shot Alphaville andt Pierrot le fou before he divorced Anna Karina and later shot the film Masculin, féminin amidst the upheaval of two rounds of Gaulist elections.

1966 - Godard made a number of films including Made in U.S.A., Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle, and L'amour en l'an 2000 (a sequel to Alphaville shot as a sketch for the collective film L'amour travers les ages).

1967 - Godard shot La chinoise in Paris with the actress Anne Wiazemsky, who he later married. Later in the year, he was prevented from traveling to North Vietnam for the shooting of a sequence for the collective film Loin du Vietnam. He instead shot the sequence in Paris, entitled Camera-Oeil. Later in the year, Godard participated with an Italian collective film called Amore e rabbia.

1968 - Godard was commissioned by French television to make the film Le gai savoir. However, television producers were outraged by the product Godard produced and refused to show it. Later in that year, Godard was furious over the firing of Henri Langlois as the head of the French 'Cinémathèque' and he left the group with Jean-Pierre Gorin to form the 'Dziga-Vertov' group. Godard became increasingly concerned with socialist solutions to an idealist cinema, especially in providing the proletariat with the means of production and distribution. Along with other militantly political filmmakers in the Dziga-Vertov group, Godard published a series of 'Ciné-Tracts' outlining these viewpoints. He also started filming One American Movie and Communications, but neither were ever finished. 

1969 - Godard traveled to England where he made the film British Sounds for BBC Weekend Television, which later refused to show it. In the late Spring he traveled with the Dziga-Vertov group to Prague to secretly shoot the film Pravda. Later that year he shot Lotte in Italia (Struggle for Italy) for Italian television. It was never shown.

1970 - Godard traveled to Lebanon to shoot a film for the Palestinian Liberation Organization entitled Jusque à la victoire (Until Victory, but it lacked the funds to be finished.

--timeline constructed from information at the Internet Movie Database, Ltd.



Godard Links

  The official Godard webpage
The story behind it

1995 Press Conference
Jean-Luc Godard Now

  Essays & Articles
Traces that Resemble Us
Dead-On and Dead Weight
French Cinema's
         Reluctant Genius

Godard, Film, as Imitative

Contempt Productions
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Top 100 Film Directors

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