"(...)Many fans flock to see movies featuring their favourite star; others line up for a film by a director whose work they enjoy. These viewers use their knowledge of a director's oeuvre as well as historical and biographical information to analyze, interpret, and evaluate her latest film."
Source: Film: A Critical Introduction (Maria Pramaggiore, Tom Wallis)
There are some filmmakers, who have their very own individual style in terms of storyline, genre or visual aspects and we call them When you watch a film Auteur Directors. For instance, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa or Federico Fellini. More obviously lets have a look at today's Hollywood biggest filmmakers. You know when it's Wes Anderson's film being screened, as soon as you see the colours. You know when it's Tarantino, cause his cast keeps repeating and the dialogue is characteristic. You'll alway recognise the violence of Scorsese's gangster movie. What about David Lynch? The mysterious atmosphere of his films is surely recognisable when you're familiar with his work. Auteur Directors are usually the ones mostly appreciated, as it's a huge achievement to create your own filmmaking style, thats impossible to be copied and remain unique at the same time. Another example of a director well known for his uniqueness is Jean-Luc Godard, which I'm going to talk about. Throughout my course Godard was an often mentioned director even though I must admit I've never seen his films before. I promised myself to finally get familiar with his work. Now that I've seen "Breathless" and "Vivre Sa Vie" I'm truly fond of his movies, I highly recommend them and look forward to seeing many more.
“Godard’s films are concerned mainly with the image of woman as a libidinal cathected commodity, and with the image of the women/consumer obsessed with the imperfections of her real/private body as opposed to the imaginary/public body of advertisement."
Source: The Radical Faces of Godard and Bertolucci (Yosefa Loshitzky)
Jean-Luc Godard is a well-known French New Wave representative, according to whom "all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun". His movies never lack any of these two ingredients. Taking into consideration two of his brilliant films, which are "À Bout de Souffle" (Breathless) and "Vivre Sa Vie" (My Life to Live) we can find many similarities in the story, techniques and general motif of his films. I'd like to to identify his authorial coherence based on this comparison.
"Breathless" was supposed to be a thriller movie about people bothered by the thoughts of death. Within the production time Godard has changed the idea a couple of time. After all the movie was a complete improvisation, but it's now considered to be Godard's debut film and the most important piece of French New Wave art. It's a crime drama movie about a man, who steals a car and kills a policeman, who's chased him. The ironic fact is, that he was only being chased for going over speed limit and because of his foolishness he was forced to commit a serious crime. Having killed the policeman he decides to go to Paris, where he meats an American journalism student. They start a untypical affair with each other.
"Vivre Sa Vie" is a drama, about a prostitute, starring his beautiful wife, Anna Karina. The film is divided into twelve episodic tales. Each story leads to the point when Nana became a prostitute and explain her decisions in existential dialogue.
SIMILARITIES THAT CREATE HIS AUTHORIAL 'SIGNATURE'
To establish the uniqueness of Godard's movies I could probably endlessly go on pointing the aspects of his films that are particularly characteristic for his style. To begin with, lets have a look at the most obvious thing, trailers. Seldom do we see this kind of trailers. Its absolutely humorous energy, its minimalism, the usual voice over in the background. Those are all things that he gathers in his trailers and we immediately know, that it's Godard's movie. What's more? Prostitution. It's a pretty common theme for the director, which is why his films are often considered to be sexist. "Vivre Sa Vie" is not the first of his films about prostitution. Godard usually takes up the subject of prostitution, although not always in a literal way. Lets not forget about improvisation. The director is said to be highly inspired by Beat Generation, mostly Jack Kerouac's literature. Let me point some important things about 'The Beats'. Spontaneous writing, no correction, individualism, existentialism. Sounds familiar? It does when watching Godard's films. Especially in "Breathless", as the most common example of Godard's cinema of improvisation. In terms of technique we can observe how similar his films are to each other and how different from other filmmakers. Most importantly cinematography and montage. Beautifully composed shots in its simplicity. Often hand-held camera and lots of jump cuts.
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