American actor Jean Seberg and Jean-Luc Godard in 1960 in Paris.
In the world of cinema, there are few names as iconic and revolutionary as Jean-Luc Godard. His ground-breaking contributions to the art form have redefined cinema, inspiring countless filmmakers and reshaping the way cinema is made, perceived and appreciated.
Godard once said, "The cinema is truth 24 times per second," - a statement that encapsulates his belief in the unique power of the medium. Through his films, he sought to capture the essence of life, truth, and human experience, frame by frame, at the speed of 24 frames per second. To Godard, each flicker of the projector's light revealed a fragment of reality, an insight into the human condition, and a testament to the profound impact of cinema on our understanding of the world and its myriad complexities.
But Godard was also acutely aware of cinema's deceptive allure. He famously declared, "Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world." In these words, he acknowledged the artifice inherent in filmmaking—the carefully crafted illusions, the manipulation of time and space, and the artful blend of reality and fiction. Yet, he celebrated this very artifice, recognizing that it was through the magic of cinema that we could explore the depths of our emotions, challenge societal norms, and provoke thought like no other medium.
Godard's work is a testament to the duality of cinema, a medium that simultaneously captures truth and weaves beautiful deceptions and illusions. His films challenged conventions, shattered boundaries, and forced us to question the nature of reality. They were a mirror held up to society, reflecting its complexities and contradictions.
Jean-Luc Godard’s extraordinary contribution to cinema and his critical writings and essays on the possibilities and limitations of cinema of art continue to resonate with filmmakers and cinephiles alike. His belief in the power of cinema to reveal truth and create beautiful illusions serves as an enduring inspiration for those who continue to push the boundaries of this art form. In the world of filmmaking, Jean-Luc Godard will forever be remembered as a visionary who saw cinema not just as a medium but as a profound exploration of the human experience, a testament to the beauty and complexity of our world.
Vive Jean-Luc ‘Cinema’ Godard!!!
Monish Das is a Kolkata based filmmaker & faculty.