Some thirty years ago filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard told critic Gene
Youngblood, I am trying to change the world. He has pursued his
revolution in works ranging from the explosive "Breathless" to the
eloquent "Contempt" to the controversial "Hail Mary" and the
postmodern "Histoire(s) du cinema," shaking up conventional
formulas with boldly innovative ap-proaches to every aspect of
cinema and video-including film criticism via provocative essays in
"Cahiers du Cinema" and interviews dating to the early years of his
This book presents a varied selection of his conversations with
critics, scholars, and journalists, spanning the 1960s to the 1990s
and illuminating key facets of his life, work, and ideas.
Topics include the seductiveness of cinema (Films are the only
things by which to look inside of people, and that's why people are
so fond of movies and why they'll never die); film as a blend of
truth and beauty (I mix images and sounds like a scientist, I hope.
The mystery of the scientific is the same as the mystery of the
artist. So is the misery); and the personal realities of aging
(Maybe it's that when you get old, in one way you feel younger and
younger but still being old-young oldness, if I may say so, which
is very. . .comforting).
As challenging and evocative as they are quirky and
unpredictable, these interviews cast light on Godard's lifelong
position as a proudly unclassifiable thinker who feels, as he said
in 1980, that a language is obviously made to cross borders. I'm
someone whose real country is language, and whose territory is
David Sterritt is an associate professor of film at Long Island
University and film critic of "The Christian Science Monitor."
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