SWITZERLAND – French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard died on Tuesday at the age of 91.
Godard’s family released a statement that was obtained by The Associated Press and it said that Godard died surrounded by loved ones at his house in Rolle on Lake Geneva.
The statement, according to the AP, indicated that Godard’s cause of death was assisted suicide which is legal in Switzerland. The statement said that a medical report had recently showed that Godard had “multiple invalidating pathologies,” but did not share any conditions.
Godard’s career started in the 1950s as a film critic and became a director among New Wave filmmakers, according to the AP. He helped to rewrite camera, sound and narrative rules, changing the way of storytelling.
Godard’s first feature-length film as a director was “Breathless” which was released in 1960, said The New York Times. The movie became an international success and had an American remake in 1983 with Richard Gere.
Godard worked with some of the best-known actors in French cinema including Jean-Paul Belmondo and Brigitte Bardot, according to the AP.
Directors like Quentin Tarantino, Bernardo Bertolucci, Brian De Palma and Jonathan Demme found Godard’s work to be influential, according to the AP.
His 1959 film, “The 400 Blows,” changed the tone for French movies. He changed the narrative style and instead used jump cuts and philosophical discussion during action scenes, according to the AP. He went on to participate in collective film projects with directors Claude Chabrol and Roger Vadim.
Godard also started to bring in his left-wing political views into his films and had a life-long sympathy for forms of socialism which was depicted in his films from the 1970s to 1990, said the AP.
Goddard traveled to Hollywood from Switzerland in November 2010 to receive an honorary Oscar at a private ceremony, according to the AP. The academy received complaints about him getting the award but the academy President Tom Sherak said Godard was only getting recognized for his New Wave-era work.
Godard has been repeatedly accused of anti-semitism even though he insisted that he sympathized with the Jewish people and “their plight in Nazi-occupied Europe,” said the AP. He was a life-long Palestinian cause advocate.
Godard married a Danish-born model and actress, Anna Karina, in 1961. She had appeared in a few of his movies. They later divorced in 1965. Two years later, Godard married his second wife, Anne Wiazemsky. According to the AP, he started a relationship with Anne-Marie Mieville who was a Swiss filmmaker. And in 1979, Wiazemsky and Godard divorced.
Twelve years ago, Godard married Mielle, according to the NYT.
According to the AP, Godard moved to Rolle, Switzerland, with Mielle and lived the rest of his life there with her.
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