Pierrot L Godard Film Analysis

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The above quote was spoken by the most celebrated French New Wave auteur filmmaker and Cahiers du Cinema critic, Jean-Luc Godard. There are three periods in which Godard’s work fall into. I will be focusing on the early period of his filmmaking career where some of his best films were made before he began his political films. He is recognized for breaking the rules and conventions of the Classical Hollywood cinema and bringing something new and innovative to French cinema. The quote is echoed upon three of his pioneering films, A Bout de Souffle (Breathless, 1960), Le Mepris (Contempt, 1963) and Pierrot Le Fou (1965). In this essay I will discuss the formal and stylistic innovations of these three films by highlighting some of the best scenes, as well as how they relate to certain theories and themes and their place in the French New Wave.
One of Godard’s most well-known editing techniques in his films is his use of
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Ferdinand turns to face the camera and says, “All she thinks about is fun” and Marianne asks who is he speaking to and he says, “The audience”. Even though I have seen many other examples of Godard breaking the fourth wall, this one caught my attention the most. It is as if Marianne and Ferdinand are fully aware that they are in a film and they engage with the audience. Another example is when Marianne addresses “the audience not with her words, but with her gaze”. This happens when Pierrot asks her if she will ever leave him and she replies, “Of course not”, then the camera cuts to an extreme close-up of her addressing us seen in Figure 2 below. She repeats it two more times to herself. By her simple repetition of that line and looking into the camera, the audience can instantly grasp what the outcome will be. Marianne looks as if she is “seeking an ally in the spectator” (Wills

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