A Companion to Jean-Luc Godard
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More About This Title A Companion to Jean-Luc Godard


This compendium of original essays offers invaluable insights into the life and works of one of the most important and influential directors in the history of cinema, exploring his major films, philosophy, politics, and connections to other critics and directors.

  • Presents a compendium of original essays offering invaluable insights into the life and works of one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema
  • Features contributions from an international cast of major film theorists and critics
  • Provides readers with both an in-depth reading of Godard’s major films and a sense of his evolution from the New Wave to his later political periods
  • Brings fresh insights into the great director’s biography, including reflections on his personal philosophy, politics, and connections to other critics and filmmakers
  • Explores many of the 80 features Godard made in nearly 60 years, and includes coverage of his recent work in video


Tom Conley is Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor of Romance Languages and Visual & Environmental Studies at Harvard University. His publications include Film Hieroglyphs (2006), Cartographic Cinema (2007), An Errant Eye (2011), and others.

T. Jefferson Kline is Professor of French at Boston University. His publications include Bertolucci’s Dream Loom (1987), Screening the Text: Intertextuality and New Wave French Cinema (1992), Unraveling French Cinema (2010), and a variety of essays on French and European literature and film. 


Notes on Contributors viii

Introduction 1
Tom Conley and T. Jefferson Kline

1 From Pen to Camera: Another Critic 11
Jean-Michel Frodon

2 À bout de souffle: Trials in New Coherences 21
Phillip John Usher

3 “Médicis 15-37”: Bernardo Bertolucci vs. Jean-Luc Godard 44
Fabien S. Gérard

4 Un Femme est infâme: Godard’s Writing Lesson 60
Elizabeth Ezra

5 Michel Legrand Scores Une femme est une femme 71
Kareem Roustom

6 Three-Way Mirroring in Vivre sa vie 89
Maureen Turim

7 Commerce and the War of the Sexes: Laetitia Masson and Jean-Luc Godard 108
Martine Beugnet

8 Les Carabiniers: BB Guns at War and at the Movies 119
Gerald Peary

9 A Postmodern Consideration of Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris 128
Emily Macaux

10 Totally, Tenderly, Tragically . . . and in Color: Another Look at Godard’s Le Mépris 143
Steven Ungar

11 Le Mépris: Landscapes as Tragedy 156
Ludovic Cortade

12 Bande(s) à part: Godard’s Contraband Poetry 171
T. Jefferson Kline

13 Pierrot le fou and a Legacy of Forme 187
Tom Conley

14 Godard’s Wars 197
Philip Watts

15 (Dé)collage: Bazin, Godard, Aragon 210
Douglas Smith

16 The Children of Marx and Esso: Oil Companies and Cinematic Writing in 1960s Godard 224
Thomas Odde

17 One or Two Points About Two or Three Things I Know About Her 243
Jacqueline Levitin

18 Godard’s Remote Control 263
John Hulsey

19 La Chinoise ... et après?: Aging Against Tradition 282
Grace An

20 Jean-Luc, Community, and Communication 296
Marc Cerisuelo

21 On and Under Communication 318
Michael Witt

22 Factories and the Factory 351
Amie Siegel

23 Passion’s Ghost 367
Murray Pomerance

24 Schizoanalyzing Souls: Godard, Deleuze, and the Mystical Line of Flight 383
David Sterritt

25 Godard the Hegelian 403
Daniel Fairfax

26 Godard’s Ecotechnics 420
Verena Andermatt Conley

27 Retrospective Godard 430
Elisabeth Hodges

28 “An Accurate Description of What Has Never Occurred”: History, Virtuality, and Fiction in Godard 441
Scott Durham

29 Noli me tangere: Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(e)s du cinéma 456
Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli

30 Godard the Historiographer: From Histoires du cinéma to the Beaubourg Exhibition 488
Trond Lundemo

31 The Old Place, Space of Legends 504
Margaret C. Flinn

32 Notre musique: Juste une conversation 514
Erin Schlumpf

33 Jean-Luc Godard: To Liberate Things from the Name that We Have Imposed on Them (Film . . .) to Announce Dissonances Parting from a Note in Common (Socialisme) 527
Irmgard Emmelhainz

Index 546


“Jean-Luc Godard not only reinvented the cinema; he also challenged film viewers to become engaged cinephiles, whether in terms of politics, theory, gender, or the history of film itself.  Godard’s work is and has always been provocative, and that it has remained so since the beginnings of the New Wave attests to the magnitude of the director’s achievement.  Tom Conley and T. Jefferson Kline have assembled a remarkable collection, representing a wide range of perspectives on Godard’s achievement.  The book is a must-read for anyone  who has ever been entranced or frustrated, fascinated or enraged with Godard’s cinematic imagination.”

 Judith Mayne, Ohio State University

"In generating this superb and intellectually diverse collection of original essays, the editors have accomplished the crucial work of critics, which is to demonstrate the vast range and immense depth of a great artist’s work."

 Ted Perry, Middlebury College