Richard Brody – “Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard” (2008)

April 3, 2011 at 7:24 am (Cinema, French New Wave, Reviews & Articles)

This book review by Andrew Hultkrans comes from the Artforum website, May 30, 2008…

His Life to Live

In the October 1950 issue of La Gazette du cinema, a young Jean-Luc Godard, writing pseudonymously, penned a sentence that serves, for biographer Richard Brody, as a skeleton key to the legendary director’s often-inscrutable inner workings: “At the cinema, we do not think, we are thought.” Brody, a film critic and editor at the New Yorker, uses this key throughout his rigorous yet readable biographical study, as dauntingly massive as it is helpfully clarifying, to unlock the intensely personal and political influences that shaped the work of an artist as pivotal to the evolution of his chosen medium as Picasso and Bob Dylan were to theirs. Like Picasso, Godard is an artist of many phases, each with enough revolutionary singularity to have sustained the reputation of any other director; like Dylan, he was a meteoric phenomenon of the 1960s who suffered a motorcycle accident and retreated to domestic isolation in the ’70s, then slowly returned to cultural prominence in the intervening years.

For those who have seen only a fraction of the films, out of order, without any supplementary reading or cultural context, Everything Is Cinema is a revelatory, satisfying feast. What lingers is the realization that Godard, the ultimate auteur, whose oblique cinematic experiments pushed the medium forward and seemed aggressively, at times perversely, sui generis, is far more a receiver and a conductor than a generator — a deeply, often Read the rest of this entry »

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