Forgotten by today’s audiences as a press-shy eccentric, Jean-Luc Godard is cinema’s most extraordinary one-man revolution: the brainiac French New Wave rebel whose jump-cutting pulp-fiction Breathless (1959) demolishes film language and creates its own via Bogart-worshipping cop-killer Jean-Paul Belmondo and American student Jean Seberg. It’s obligatory viewing – as is the droll, illogical Alphaville (1965), which respins the Orpheus myth as a pop-culture-quoting future-noir that sends Eddie Constantine travelling across space to save Anna Karina from a loveless, Orwellian city (or ’60s Paris).
Made In The USA (1966) is Alphaville’s tiny twin, a fun meta-thriller that dismantles itself in the parallel-universe Atlantic- Cité. “It’s like being in a Disney film starring Humphrey Bogart. A film with a political message,” notes Anna Karina, who reappears in the doc Godard, Love, Poetry to recall her life-role as Godard’s wife and muse.
Post-Karina, Godard emerged from a lefty political ’70s fug with Passion (1982), a swerving comedy about a director struggling to make a film without a story. Rarely seen, this squint at art is a great addition. Best bonus supp, though, is 1967 doc The Baby And The Dinosaur, a marvellous hour of chat between Godard and Fritz Lang, the surgical technician. Confession, analysis and truth – 24 frames a second.