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Jean-Luc Godard: Expect Everything from Cinema

January 31, 2014 - April 19, 2014

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Jean-Luc Godard’s cinema is synonymous with innovation. Name any Godard film, early or late period, and you will find a work that opens one’s eyes to a new way of thinking about cinema, through its inspired use of elliptical structure, jump cuts, extreme close-ups, Brechtian techniques, text/image/sound design, or engagement with the essay form. Godard’s politics and philosophical views underpin the radical form of his films, creating rich layers of meaning and fertile ground for interpretation.

Recognized in the fifties first for his film criticism and then for his short films, Godard’s career as a director catapulted with Breathless, his 1959 debut feature. His deep appreciation for film history, literature, art, and music pervades his films, which are filled with quotations from the works he admired. Godard’s films have, in turn, inspired many great filmmakers, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Quentin Tarantino, and Wong Kar-wai.

This major Godard retrospective spans the entire calendar year. Between January and April, we showcase features and shorts made before 1968. In the fall, we will present his post-1968 oeuvre, representing his middle and later periods. Take advantage of this opportunity to see Godard’s masterworks and rarities on the big screen and a chance to comprehend the full scope of his remarkable career, one that has shaped the course of film history in profound ways.

Susan Oxtoby, Senior Film Curator

Friday, January 31, 2014
7:00 p.m. Breathless
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1959). Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo in the jazzy genre pastiche that launched Godard’s career and embodied the breathless bravado of the New Wave. (90 mins)

Friday, January 31, 2014
8:50 p.m. Le petit soldat
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1960). A disillusioned French counter-agent in Geneva becomes embroiled with Algerian separatists, Parisian torturers, and Anna Karina in Godard’s second film, banned for three years in France. (88 mins)

Saturday, February 1, 2014
6:30 p.m. A Woman Is a Woman
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1961). “A whimsical celebration of romance, sentiment, musical comedy, color film, the city of Paris and the abundant charms of Anna Karina” (NY Times). (85 mins)

Saturday, February 8, 2014
6:30 p.m. Vivre sa vie
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1962). Godard’s fragmentary portrait of a prostitute makes Anna Karina an object of endless visual fascination, and inspired Fassbinder to cast Karina in Chinese Roulette. “A film of extraordinary purity” (Manny Farber). (85 mins)

Saturday, February 8, 2014
8:15 p.m. Les carabiniers
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1963). This antiwar allegory, told from the viewpoint of those who fight, is one of Godard’s most Brechtian antinarratives, filmed objectively and dispassionately to paradoxically amplify the futility and absurdity of war. Script by Roberto Rossellini. (80 mins)

Saturday, February 15, 2014
8:20 p.m. Contempt
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1964). New Digital Restoration! Godard’s Homeric homage to Fritz Lang, “one of the defining moments of modernist filmmaking” (Film Comment). With Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance. (103 mins)

Saturday, February 22, 2014
8:20 p.m. Band of Outsiders
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1964). Student Pick! Anna Karina, Sami Frey, and Claude Brasseur are unlikely burglars in Godard’s “reverie of a gangster movie” (Pauline Kael). (97 mins)

Sunday, February 23, 2014
5:00 p.m. Godard’s Early Shorts
A glimpse of Godard in the process of becoming “Godard.” This program of Godard’s first shorts includes Opération béton, All the Boys Are Called Patrick, Une histoire d’eau, and Charlotte et son Jules. (89 mins)

Friday, February 28, 2014
8:45 p.m. Une femme mariée
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1964). A married woman splits her time between her aviator hubby and a preening actor in one of Godard’s first film-essays, a study of “woman reduced to object by the pressures of modern life, incapable of being herself" (Godard). (94 mins)

Saturday, March 8, 2014
8:30 p.m. Masculine Feminine
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1966). Jean-Pierre Léaud is one of “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola”—the young people of Paris circa 1965. (110 mins)

Sunday, March 9, 2014
5:30 p.m. Pierrot le fou
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1965). Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Godard’s audacious take on the lovers-on-the-run genre, lensed in ravishing color by Raoul Coutard. (110 mins)

Thursday, March 13, 2014
7:00 p.m. Made in U.S.A.
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1966). In glowing color and ’Scope, Godard’s last film with Anna Karina is “beautiful, goofy, and explosive . . . Godard’s ultimate statement about his love/hatred for the aesthetics/politics of American movies/life ” (Jonathan Rosenbaum). (90 mins)

Saturday, March 29, 2014
8:45 p.m. Two or Three Things I Know About Her
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1966). An incisive view of prostitution and Paris, with breathtaking color photography by Raoul Coutard. “Perhaps Godard’s greatest feature" (Susan Sontag). (90 mins)

Saturday, April 5, 2014
8:30 p.m. Alphaville
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1965). “Godard’s conceptual masterpiece is a hardboiled, Pop Art, sci-fi gloss on Cocteau’s Orpheus and Orwell’s 1984” (Village Voice). (98 mins)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
7:00 p.m. Far from Vietnam
Jean-Luc Godard et al. (France, 1967). A unique collaboration by seven noted directors—William Klein, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Lelouch, Joris Ivens, Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, and Alain Resnais—produced as a fundraiser for the Vietnamese. (115 mins)

Saturday, April 12, 2014
8:35 p.m. La Chinoise
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1967). Godard’s 1967 Pop-agitprop portrait of revolutionary youth. “Feels like a trial run for the May 1968 revolution. See it by any means necessary!" (Time Out NY) (99 mins)

Sunday, April 13, 2014
6:00 p.m. The Anthology Films
A selection of short films made by Godard and excerpted from omnibus films. (104 mins)

Saturday, April 19, 2014
8:30 p.m. Weekend
Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1967) A surreally funny and deeply disturbing expression of social oblivion that ended the first phase of Godard's career. “(Godard’s) best film, and his most inventive. It is almost pure movie” (Roger Ebert). (105 mins)

BAM/PFA is indebted to Kent Jones and Jacob Perlin at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, where a similar Godard series recently took place at the 51st New York Film Festival, as well to James Quandt at TIFF Cinematheque, where a Godard retrospective screens this year. We also wish to thank Institut Français; Florence Almozini, French Cultural Services, New York; Stéphane Ré, Gilles Delcourt, Hannah Loué at the French Consulate San Francisco; and Eric Di Bernardo, Rialto Films.