100 Quotes by Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard, a pioneer of French New Wave cinema, shattered traditional filmmaking norms to redefine the language of cinema. His innovative techniques, like jump cuts and disjointed narratives, challenged linear storytelling, inviting audiences to engage with films in a new, introspective manner. Godard's films often oscillate between high art and pop culture, combining political commentary with artistic experimentation. His work, like "Breathless," exemplifies his rebellious spirit and ability to capture the zeitgeist of his era. Godard's cinematic vocabulary, rooted in philosophy, literature, and visual arts, opened up new dimensions for film as a medium of personal expression and cultural critique. His influence can be felt in generations of filmmakers who continue to push the boundaries of storytelling and aesthetics.

Jean-Luc Godard Quotes

He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch. (Meaning)

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The cinema is not an art which films life: the cinema is something between art and life. Unlike painting and literature, the cinema both gives to life and takes from it, and I try to render this concept in my films. Literature and painting both exist as art from the very start; the cinema doesn't.

A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order. (Meaning)

Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.

In films, we are trained by the American way of moviemaking to think we must understand and 'get' everything right away. But this is not possible. When you eat a potato, you don't understand each atom of the potato!

Objects exist and if one pays more attention to them than to people, it is precisely because they exist more than the people. Dead objects are still alive. Living people are often already dead.

People like to say, 'What do you mean exactly?' I would answer, 'I mean, but not exactly.'

Photography is truth...and cinema is truth 24 times a second.

I don't think you should feel about a film. You should feel about a woman, not a movie. You can't kiss a movie.

To live in society today is like living in one enormous comic-strip.

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"Away, away," says hate. "Closer, closer," says love.

Killing a man in defense of an idea is not defending an idea; it is killing a man.

What is your greatest ambition in life?' 'To become immortal... and then die.

People come to Cannes just to advertise their films, not with a particular message. But the advantage is that if you go to the festival, you get so much press coverage in three days that it advertises the film for the rest of the year.

When we talked, I talked about me, you talked about you, when we should have talked about each other.

Art is not a reflection of reality, it is the reality of a reflection.

I pity the French Cinema because it has no money. I pity the American Cinema because it has no ideas.

If direction is a look, montage is a heartbeat. To foresee is the characteristic of both; but what one seeks to foresee in space, the other seeks in time.

The cinema substitutes for our gaze a world more in harmony with our desires.

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Cinema is not a series of abstract ideas, but rather the phrasing of moments.

Why all these signs around us that make me doubt language and submerge me in meanings, drowning reality instead of extracting it from the imaginary?

First there was Greek civilization. Then there was the Renaissance. Now we’re entering the Age of the Ass.

When you photograph a face . . .you photograph the soul behind it.

Sometime reality is too complex. Stories give it form.

There is no such thing as intellectual property.

Film begins with DW Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.

You don't make a movie, the movie makes you.

There is no point in having sharp images when you've fuzzy ideas.

We once believed we were auteurs but we weren't. We had no idea, really. Film is over. It's sad nobody is really exploring it. But what to do? And anyway, with mobile phones and everything, everyone is now an auteur.

One must confront vague ideas with clear images.

Why must one talk? Often one shouldn't talk, but live in silence. The more one talks, the less the words mean. (Nana Kleinfrankenheim, Vivre Sa Vie)

Beauty is composed of an eternal, invariable element whose quantity is extremely difficult to determine, and a relative element which might be, either by turns or all at once, period, fashion, moral, passion.

Give me more. Let's do what has not been done.

I learned from Rossellini that you are rich even if you have a little money.

Once we know the number one, we believe that we know the number two, because one plus one equals two. We forget that first we must know the meaning of plus.

One of the most striking signs of the decay of art is when we see its separate forms jumbled together.

Film is like a personal diary, a notebook or a monologue by someone who tries to justify himself before a camera.

When sex gets problematic, the totalitarianist walks in.

The cinema is truth 24 frames-per-second. (Meaning)

Cinema teaches us about the human body and how we look at things.

All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl. (Meaning)

The movie is not a thing which is taken by the camera; the movie is the reality of the movie moving from reality to the camera.

The cinema is not an art which films life: the cinema is something between art and life.

To me style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of style, like the outside and the inside of the human body - both go together, they can't be separated.

Hollywood was invented by hoodlums from central Europe. And today a Hollywood lawyer is not a hoodlum. He's a bureaucrat.

To be or not to be. That's not really a question.

There are no more simple images... The world is too much for an image. You need several of them, a chain of images.

You have to continue and discover the grammar of things, of what we can see.

I am a painter with letters. I want to restore everything, mix everything up and say everything.

If you have $300,000 to shoot a cigarette on a table, it's an enormous amount of money. Maybe that's why my movies are the way they are. But it's the only way I can make a living.

Self-portraits have been done in painting, but never in music or literature. It has no meaning, it makes no sense. And in movies I was wondering if it could. And how.

I had the feeling that Sarajevo was the perfect place to shoot the film I wanted to shoot. It is the perfect illustration of purgatory.

A critic is a soldier that fires on his own men.

Through most of my career I've made a decent living making movies no one wants to see.

I don't know if I am free because I am happy or happy because I am free.

American pictures usually have no subject, only a story. A pretty woman is not a subject. Julia Roberts doing this and that is not a subject.

Cinema is movement, after all.

The world isn't a sad place, it's just big.

What I like in pictures whether by an old director or a young director is when I have the feeling he or she is really using the capacity of film.

Sometimes reality is too complex for oral communication. But legend embodies it in a form which enables it to spread all over the world.

Words and action in movies are the spirit or the mind. And these days the body is almost completely forgotten. In the beginning the body - nature - was more part of the action.

Truth is in all things, even partly, in error.

Even with a small video we will always be able to do a small movie with friends and to show it to someone. You won't get the Oscar for it. But, after all, why are you writing and why are you filming?

It makes me laugh when you bring two things together which have nothing to do with one another.

There is no light in electronincs. There is lightening. But lightening is not real light.

The tree or the road - the ones I know of, finally they are the only characters I know really. The human characters I don't know. So there is both something I know and something I don't know. And I put them together.

In movies, comedy and tragedy are all the same.

Cinema is capitalism in its purest form.... There is only one solution - turn one's back on American cinema.

Photography is truth.

Poetry is a game of loser-take-all.

Europe has memories, America has t-shirts.

There is a new world coming and this new world is very rude.

I am nowhere. You can call me the man in the middle.

Living, it can be sad too.

Suddenly, I don't know what to say. It happens often to me. I know what I want to say, I think about whether it is what I mean, but when the moment comes to speak, I can't say it. - Nana Kleinfrankenheim, Vivre Sa Vie.

I never read Karl Marx.

Even with painting, even abstract paintings, you need the incoming of, light on the canvas.

Mirrors should reflect before sending an image.

The average income in France is $1,000 a month, and you can't live decently on that.

I am still associated with a heroic period in French cinema, and my name remains linked to this period.

I have no desire to vote for French politicians, and I'm not entitled to vote in Switzerland.

The truth is that there is no terror untempered by some great moral idea.

To be only spectacular should be 5 or 10 percent of cinema.

I believe what Jesus said, but Jesus never said priests couldn't be fools.

If you want to make a documentary you should automatically go to the fiction, and if you want to nourish your fiction you have to come back to reality.

Photography could have been invented in color. Colors existed.

I don't think I've succeeded in making any really good films. There are moments, scenes, whole movements that sing. It has all added up to a cinema of sorts, even though I'm still learning my art.

This is not a just image, this is just an image.

You can be with other people, which is ideal, or you can be alone.

I've always wanted, basically, to do research in the form of a spectacle.

The projector will soon disappear. The camera, not really. OK, it depends... it depends on change.

Movies are a world of Fragments.

Film is truth 24 times a second, and every cut is a lie. (Meaning)

All our thinking constitutes the new world, but all our thoughts are older and older.

This new world which is being born is cynical and amnesiac. And it has eliminated perspective.

There are two kinds of homeland: one that is given is like a negative, and one that you have to conquer is like the positive.

You can't transmit a landscape, happily enough.

When you are out in the land, OK, you have the land but you are alone with it. And sometimes it is too much.

In Europe, the houses and the apartments are getting smaller. So there is no need to increase the screen because the apartment is becoming smaller.

Reportage is interesting only when placed in a fictional context, but fiction is interesting only if it is validated by a documentary context.

All you need to make a film is a girl and a gun

When Yeats said the center cannot hold, he was talking for himself, but it was true for the rest of us as well.

I have a large number of cassettes, but I look at them mainly for reference purposes.

I like both slapstick and contradiction. Like philosophers.

There is no more discovery. Not since the beginning of this century. There are new gadgets. New important gadgets.

When the film stock disappears, the matter - because movies are matter - (disappears). The laws of this have been established by Newton, Einstein, and others: there is a correspondence between light and matter, and light is matter. And energy.

Projection will disappear. And the possibility that was given by motion pictures will be missed. The possibility of there being a real audience - a group of people who have nothing in common, but, at a certain time of the day or the week, are able to look with other nknown neighbors at something bigger than they are. To look at their problems in big. Not in small.

We are all older and more tired.

I think I'm innocently representing a certain belief in motion pictures, and, well OK.

I make film to make time pass.

I'm satisfied to have an ordinary success and an ordinary life and an ordinary income. Later, I don't know.

Movies will continue one way or another. Maybe on video. Even on video games. You have to look at it, if you have children, or if you are linked to children, because it's new for them. This has not disappeared; the look of a child who is discovering the world, whatever it is.

When I go in front of the light - go towards it - it is because it brings me energy. That's all.

Now at my age I understand how sad it must have been for some directors or actors at the time the talkies began. Because, really, a whole continent disappeared.

I know that I am old, because even if I think I'm younger than everyone - but that's true - my way of hoping and continuing is that I am always in a younger position than the other one.

I think laughter comes because things are hardly working.

When I have a low budget I always try to make it a lesson in economy.

To be immortal and then die (Meaning)

I write and film history; I don't make it.

The way we have done pictures has to be disappeared.

If we think today the way TV is ordering us to think, we think of Einstein as someone modern. Stravinsky is modern music, but it came at the time of Birth of a Nation, which is an old movie.

Because my movies are not successful, they are not shown. So I make a living from the budget.

When you go to the cinema you look up, when you watch television you look down.

Americans have no past, so they buy the pasts of others.

The invention of photography. For whom? Against whom?

I've always considered the French-speaking part of Switzerland as a province of France.

I'm Franco-Swiss. I've always been shuttling between these two worlds, never firmly planted in either one.

The fact is that, unless you are very good, most first movies are too long, and you lose your rhythm and your audience over two or three hours.

If I'm speaking it means that in one way or another when I say, "I'm cold" it belongs to me: I'm cold. But just by saying this it becomes general.

Something that I like in movies, and I dislike too, is that they can't be projected well.

The trouble with Hollywood is that it has poisoned us. If you see a poster of a movie it is mainly the picture of a woman and a man. Always a love story. Yes. But it shouldn't be that way. It should be another (way).

When there's 100 people around you can't really forget yourself.

We are in the twentieth or the twenty-first century, but all the thinking, if you speak to one of those people keen on technology - you see that all their thinking is two centuries old. In cinema, you can show this.

In the beginning there was not even talking. In movies, there was no need for that. Because it was more evident if there was no talking. Only in sports does there remain this fervor, which can even become violent. There's this desire to see something big.

I'm very interested in tennis, but when I try to tell younger players about [Bill] Tilden, they're not interested.

TV has nothing to do with painting. It's just transmission.

There is a problem in pretending I can still control my destiny in the commercial market.

We are losing our own capacity because we are poisoned in one way or another.

One can be a good critic and a moral observer, but one remains professionally detached as a writer and a filmmaker.

If you have made three or four films, my feeling is, he is older than me because I am still making my first movie. That helps me.

The silent film, it was cut at the age of thirty.

Action can make you laugh. But just because you are glad. Even if there is no meaning.

I don't like Paris or being in big cities.

― Jean-Luc Godard Quotes

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Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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