Godard, a Biographical Comedy

The latest film by Michel Hazanavicius, Godard Mon Amour, out in the U.S. this Friday, portrays Jean-Luc Godard in the midst of an existential crisis during the May 1968 events.

Jean-Luc Godard, the star director of the Nouvelle Vague, a figure as loved as he was misunderstood, is now a living legend at the age of 87. And it was precisely this icon that Michel Hazanavicius (awarded an Oscar for The Artist) decided to take on as the subject of an irreverent biography. The movie takes place in the late 1960s, which marked a transitional period in Godard’s life. Hazanavicius drew inspiration from the book Un an après, in which Godard’s ex-wife Anne Wiazemsky describes how they met and the several years they lived together.

At the time, Godard was the best-known director of his generation. Anne, the granddaughter of François Mauriac, was a philosophy student and fledgling actress, and 17 years younger than the filmmaker. The pair met on the set of Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar. The director and his muse decided to get married a few months later. Fascinated by the student-led movements shaking up French universities, Godard decided to film La Chinoise, in which Anne played the leading role of a young Maoist.

But the movie was a failure upon its release, forcing Godard into a period of major self-reflection. The events of May ’68 only amplified this process, and the director descended into a profound existential crisis, turning his back on his popular previous films (Breathless, Pierrot le fou) to embrace political cinema.

The movie offers a wonderful parody of the colorful, pop style of Godard’s work at the time. Audiences will discover a character who, while doubtlessly gifted, is also hilariously funny, horribly jealous, and often quite irritating… Louis Garrel (Saint Laurent, My King, Love Songs) is flawlessly imitating the attitude and manners of speech so typical of Jean-Luc Godard.

U.S. release: April 20

Run time: 107 min
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
With: Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, Bérénice Bejo, Micha Lescot
Distributor: Cohen Media

Article published in the May 2018 issue of France-Amérique


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