Jean-Luc Godard Criticism

Criticism of Jean-Luc Godard which aims to show that he may not have been so great a film maker after all. This is a negative view of the style and approach of Jean-Luc Godard to film.


Breathless Cover

The problem with Godard’s style is that in reminding the viewer they are watching a film as he disrupts the experience. If you are at the cinema and someone walks in front of you or starts using their mobile phone, it does not ironically remind you that you are watching a film. It does not make it clear that you are viewing images that have been specifically chosen, with dialogue that is not truly natural speech. Rather it just annoys you and disrupts the pacing of the film. It is the task of film makers to suspend our disbelief, that is what is required to get the audience emotionally involved. Godard fails on this point by his own designs.

All of his tricks, such as jump-cutting, fail to really be effective because they take the viewer out of the film. While his intention for doing this is noteworthy, it is also worth considering that directors such as Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles achieve similar levels of complexity without needing to take the viewer out of the film.

Class Struggle

Tout Va Bien Cover

The problem is that Godard himself is so clearly bourgeois. Where he actually stole some money to get by. I cannot think of anything more typically bourgeois than stealing from the proletariat, so even when Godard is trying to live the life of the proletariat he ends up as a bourgeois. In essence, Godard is the child who ran away from bourgeois society to join the proletariat, only to find his inner bourgeois.

To be fair to Godard it is very hard to change who you are as a human being, but it is his insistence on filming the lives of the working class that makes him difficult to tolerate. His portrayals of the working class characters in his films are almost always simply wrong and off the mark. This is not a deliberate and ironic portrayal either, but rather is evidence of his inability to really understand. The key thing to understand about the working class of the world is that they really do not have time to do much else but work. That is why working class life can be so hard, as it saps all your time towards tedious and emotionally pointless work. Unless a film is showing scenes at night time, in which the working class may have some spare time, then it is somewhat silly to portray them not working. This is one of the key ways you can tell whether a film maker has actually lived in the working class or not, because he or she will portray work-life incorrectly. His portrayal of workers on a farm in Weekend was so silly as to be ridiculous. The idea that workers really have time to stop working and discuss class related issues, as shown in Tout Va Bien, is so quaint as to be funny.

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