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In 1978, Jean-Luc Godard improvised a series of fourteen talks for a projected history of cinema on video. These talks, published in French in 1980 and long out of print, have never before been translated into English. This edition, based on the sole videotape copies of the lectures, corrects the faulty and incomplete French version and is the only complete edition in any language. The volume is accompanied by an essay by Michael Witt thoroughly documenting Godard's various film history projects and by 56 full-page film stills manipulated by Godard and 24 illustrations in his own hand. For this project, Godard screened his own famous films of the 1960s alongside single reels of some of the films which most influenced his work. Working at the dawn of video, a technology essential to his completion of the project many years later, as the visual essay Histoire(s) du cinéma, Godard used pieces of 35mm film, projected in an auditorium, to approximate the historical montage he was groping towards. He then held forth, in an experience he describes as a form of 'public self-psychoanalysis', on his personal and professional relationships, working methods, aesthetic preferences, political beliefs and, on the cusp of 50, his philosophy of life. The result is the most extensive and revealing account ever of his work and critical opinions. Never has Godard been as loquacious, lucid and disarmingly frank as he is here. This volume is one of the great classics of film literature, by perhaps the wittiest and most idiosyncratic genius the cinema has known.
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About the Author
Jean-Luc Godard's first feature film, Breathless, was released in 1960, spearheading the French New Wave film movement. More than 60 years and nearly as many feature films later, he is still working today, breaking new ground with each new film. Michael Witt is professor of cinema at the University of Roehampton, London, and the author of Jean-Luc Godard, Cinema Historian and co-editor of The French Cinema Book, For Ever Godard and Jean-Luc Godard: Documents.
Table of Contents
Preface Jean-Luc Godard xi Preface to the English-language Edition Serge Losique xiii Archaeology of 'Histoire(s) du Cinéma' Michael Witt xv A Note on the Text Timothy Barnard lxxi First Voyage Part One: Freedom 5 À bout de souffle Part Two: Fascism 31 Le Petit Soldat Second Voyage Part One: Actors and Audiences 63 Vivre sa vie Part Two: Myths 93 Le Mépris Third Voyage Part One: Words and Images 125 Alphaville Part Two: Fragments 153 Une Femme mariée Fourth Voyage Part One: Between 179 Pierrot le fou Part Two: Television and Video 209 Masculin Féminin Fifth Voyage Part One: (Hi)stories 245 Made in U.S.A. Part Two: Forms 267 La Chinoise Sixth Voyage Part One: Monsters 295 Week-end Part Two: Documentary and Fiction 325 Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle Seventh Voyage Part One: Return to Zero 363 One plus One Part Two: The People and Their Leaders 385 Les Carabiniers Appendix: Studies in Motion Pictures and Television 425 Jean-Luc Godard Acknowledgments 443 Name Index 445 Title Index 469