- The retrospective includes titles such as ‘At the end of the getaway’, ‘Pierrot the madman’ and ‘The contempt’
- The selection of 11 films will be screened at the Institut français de Valencia and at the Center del Carme Cultura Contemporània
After several consecutive editions dedicated to American filmmakers, the cycle dedicated by Cinema Jove to the early years of the career of an influential and established director pays tribute to a European director, Jean-Luc Godard. The 36th edition of the Valencia International Film Festival organized by the Institut Valencià de Cultura will review the films made by the French director before he turned 40, with which he would have been eligible for the Luna de Valencia in the Official Section of feature films .
The French director was so prolific during his thirties that the festival has needed two venues to program the 11 titles that make up the cycle. The Centre del Carme will host eight films from June 18 to 25 and the Institut français, the remaining three, from June 22 to 24.
The iconoclastic director started his career from the other side, as a film critic in ‘Cahiers du Cinéma’, where the founders of ‘nouvelle vague’ joined forces. The young Godard collects both proposals attached to this renewal movement and the political cinema forged during May 68.
The retrospective begins with a title whose poster hangs on the walls of the rooms of moviegoers of all generations, one of the foundational films of the ‘nouvelle vague’, ‘Breathless’ (1960). Godard broke the narrative codes with a film anchored to his iconic leading actors: Jean-Paul Belmondo wearing a borsaline hat, and Jean Seberg as a saleswoman for the ‘New York Herald Tribune’ through the streets of Paris.
Belmondo repeated in the director’s third film, ‘A woman is a woman’ (1961), for which Anna Karina, the director’s partner and fetish actress, won the Best Performer Award at the Berlin Film Festival. The actress starred in an emblematic scene that is pure film history in ‘My life to live‘ (1962): that of her crying when she sees Joan of Arc burn at the stake in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 classic . The drama was recognized with the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival and focuses on a recurring theme in the Frenchman’s career, presenting prostitution as a metaphor to portray the consumer society.
It was followed by one of his main masterpieces, ‘Contempt’ (1963), in which Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot bring to life a disintegrating marriage. The film has a cinephile nod as it has among the cast Fritz Lang playing himself.
If Quentin Tarantino’s production company is called A Band Apart, it is not by chance, because that’s the title of one of the two films made by the Frenchman in 1964, where the unforgettable scene of the choreography for three in a bar stands out. The second film of that year would be ‘A married woman’ (1964), written, directed and narrated by Godard himself.
A year later, ‘Alphaville‘ (1965) won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlinale with its portrayal of a future society with totalitarian features.
That same year he began to take a more ideological approach in ‘Pierrot le fou’ (1965), a poetic ending to the ‘nouvelle vague’ together with the actor with whom he had inaugurated it, Jean-Paul Belmondo.
With ‘Masculine, feminine’ (1966) he would reinvent himself by throwing a black and white cinematographic look at the political and sexual aspirations of French youth. This crossroads between sociological documentary and fiction is loosely inspired by Guy de Maupassant’s stories, ‘Paul’s wife’ and ‘Le Signe’.
‘The oldest profession’ (1967) is not a film by Godard, but a comedy articulated in episodes directed by several directors, himself among them, that reviews the history of prostitution from prehistory to the present.
The cycle closes with the screening of ‘Two or three things I know about her‘ (1967), an apparent mockumentary narrated by the director and that again incurs in his criticism of consumerism, the influence of advertising and prostitution , with an emphasis on the indifference of the society of the time to the Vietnam War and the atomic threat.
“Although Godard has continued to shoot great films, this first decade is his most remembered one, even though all of them have been extensively studied, commented on and analyzed ”, values Carlos Madrid.