Sunday, November 27, 2011

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard: Twenty Personal Favorites

I had a great time recently putting together my Woody Allen list so I thought this "Twenty Personal Favorites" tally might be a fun weekly thing to do here. With my month-long Francois Truffaut tribute coming up, I thought a list dedicated to an artist he was so deeply connected to would be more than fitting.

The career of Jean-Luc Godard has been as chaotic as his friendship with Truffaut was and he has never lost his ability to fascinate and repel (often at the same time). To say cinema would have been a much less interesting place without the films of Godard is a massive understatement. Perhaps a more fitting epitaph would be that the last fifty years of cinema would have been a totally different place without him. Godard didn't just change film, at times he turned it against itself and created something entirely new, totally alien and completely unique. These are my twenty personal favorites (listed mostly with their English language titles).

1. Contempt (1963)

2. Slow Motion (1979)

3. Number Two (1975)

4. Week End (1967)

5. Band of Outsiders (1964)

6. Masculin Feminine (1966)

7. First Name: Carmen (1983)

8. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1966)

9. Tout va bien (1972)

10. Pierrot le fou (1965)

11. A Woman is a Woman (1961)

12. Alphaville (1965)

13. Detective (1985)

14. How's it Going? (1976)

15. My Life to Live (1962)

16. Made in U.S.A. (1966)

17. Breathless (1959)

18. A Married Woman (1964)

19. One Plus One (1968)

20. New Wave (1990)



Joel Bocko said...

Nice to see Band of Outsiders & Masculin Feminin so high (those are my 2 favorites). What are your thoughts on Hail Mary & La Chinoise (2 other favorites that don't show here)? It's funny - Godard is probably my favorite filmmaker, though I've seen all his pre-'68 work most of the later stuff is a blank slate for me. After Weekend, I've only seen Le Gai Savoir, Tout va bien, Letter to Jane, Hail Mary, and In Praise of Love. I've got Histoires du cinema shipping to me in about a month, and after that I'm hoping to do a Godard retro sometime in the spring or summer. Lots of holes to fix...

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks so much Joel for the comments. Honestly, leaving out La Chinoise was a lapse on my part as it is a favorite. That's the problem with trying to compile a list from such a prolific filmmaker. I like Hail Mary quite a bit and it would be in the top 25.
There are still quite a few holes I have to fill as well, especially quite a few of the post mid-90's films.
Of the post Week End work, I highly recommend Number Two and Slow Motion. Those are both amazing films.
Thanks again!