I’m going to be completely honest. Before hearing this morning’s news I would’ve hesitated if you’d asked “is Jean-Luc Godard still with us”? Not out of lack of respect, but because he’s been so absent from not just the conversation but the realm…a crabby Swiss hermit for so many years. He might’ve passed three or four years ago, and it could have conceivably slipped my mind.

If you stop making creative noise or speak-outs of some kind (even on Twitter), sooner or later even your acolytes will begin to forget about you.

I doubt if @RealJLG was the real deal. Either way he/she/it stopped posting in 2013. If @RealJLG was real, he/she/it should’ve kept at it. I get positively moist thinking of the tweets that this one-time cinematic colossus might have posted about wokesters. He would have sliced them into little bits with a sushi knife, and shamed what was left for all eternity.

Godard went out in a ballsy and declarative way — assisted suicide. Quality of life had declined to such an extent that he said “fuck it.”

The last thing I recall about Godard was when he blew off Agnes Varda when she came to visit in Faces Places (’18). Who denies an old friend a smile and a hug and a little generosity of spirit? A shitty thing to do.

Godard Redux,” posted on 6.24.06: Jean Luc Godard‘s “influence is immeasurable, yet his popular reputation stems from only a small fraction of his output,” according to a Sunday (6.25) N.Y. Times piece by Nathan Lee.

“From 1960 to 1967 [Godard] became immensely famous for a series of radical entertainments that fused youth-quake insouciance and jazzy improvisation to genre deconstruction and high-culture formalism. They were genre movies with a twist: pseudo gangster films (Breathless), thrillers (Le Petit Soldat), war movies (Les Carabiniers) musicals (A Woman Is a Woman), science fiction (Alphaville).

“Godard is the original meta-movie maestro, the first director as D.J.. He is also an accomplished film critic, and has always maintained that writing and directing are two sides of the same coin. But when the familiar reference points to Hollywood vanished in the 1970’s, as he became more occupied with Marxism and avant-garde video, people stopped paying attention.”

I remember a story Andrew Sarris told me in the late ’70s about the moment he informed Richard Roud and other Manhattan-based Godard acolytes that he had gotten “off the boat.” That was when Godard’s revolutionary Marxist period had reached full boil.

I’ve been a Godard dilletante all my life — there for the classic entries (my all-time favorite is Weekend) and spotty on his more recent stuff (In Praise of Love, Our Music). And yet I’m unquestionably into seeing, for the first time, Masculine Feminine at the L.A. Film Festival next Thursday, 6.29.

Jean-Luc Godard In Love,” posted on 5.15.17:

I was too distracted to watch when this French teaser for Michel Hazanavicius’s Redoubtable, which will debut at the Cannes Film Festival, appeared online last month. Set in the mid ’60s, the film is about a love affair between legendary nouvelle vague director Jean-Luc Godard and Au Hasard Balthazar and Weekend star Anne Wiazemsky. But what gets me here is Louis Garrel‘s channeling of Godard, particularly the low-key insouciance.

The film, which Godard has allegedly described as “a stupid idea”, is based on Wiazemsky’s writings about her Godard relationship, which began when she was in her late teens. Born in 1930, Godard was 17 years older than Wiazemsky. He wound up casting her in La Chinoise (’67), Weekend (’67) and One Plus One (’68). They were married between ’67 and ’79.

It’s been reported that Wiazemsky was 17 when her affair with Godard began. I’m figuring more like 19. She was born in ’47, and was 18 when Au Hasard, Balthazar (released on 5.25.66) was shot in the summer or fall of ’65.

In her book “Jeune Fille” Wiazemsky wrote that Bresson was obsessed with her and never let her out of her sight, so it seems unlikely that Godard was circling her then. The timetable indicates that the Godard coupling began in late ’65 or ’66.

26 year-old Stacy Martin, whose last high-profile role was in Part One of Lars Von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac, plays Wiazemsky. Berenice Bejo (The Artist) costars.

“‘Every Film is A Documentary Of Its Actors’ — Jean-Luc Godard,” posted on 8.12.14:

Yesterday HE reader and L.A. Daily News guy Bob Strauss wrote that “any critic who can’t distinguish between the performance and the character doesn’t just have lousy perception, they’re unfit for the job.”

That’s almost total bullshit — all actors blend themselves into the characters they play, and when the process is finished nobody really knows where the actor ends and the character begins, least of all the critics. It’s all an improvised mashed-potato process. With the exception of those rare world-class actors who can truly be called chameleons (Meryl Streep, the late Laurence Olivier, Daniel Day Lewis and maybe, what, 10 or 12 others?) very few actors are really playing “somebody else”. A performance is simply a process by which an actor tries on a coat or a pair of shoes or a mood or a history lived by some character on a page, and then they cross-blend themselves into this person and…tah-dah! How’s this sound? Should I do it differently? I love this job, man…I love making movies.

Those who can do this well or at least smoothly and who’ve been agile enough to scale the hurdles and who have sufficiently big heads…they’re all good to go. Almost no successful actors will admit this because revelations of this sort seem to devalue their craft. They want you to think it’s tricky magic or rocket science, but it’s not. I’m not saying it’s easy or that anyone can do it, but a lot of people can.

Every actor in Hollywood history has lied through their teeth about this process. They’ve all used the same line about simply and purely playing a made-up character, and that what they perform has nothing to do with who they really are and so on. That is undoubtedly true to some extent but it’s NEVER, EVER 100% true. Even though Cary Grant always claimed he would like to be “Cary Grant” as much as the next day, he was still always Cary Grant. Vince Vaughn has always been (and always will be ) Vince fucking Vaughn. Humphrey Bogart was always that guy with the dangling unfiltered cigarette and the tough Manhattan attitude. Owen Wilson has always been Owen Wilson in every performance he’s ever given.

Very few actors are serious chameleons. Most of them are just making it up as they go along. All good actors take their looks and personalities and attitudes and toss them around in a salad bowl, and then they tailor or modify a character to fit their own personality or psyche and swirl the salad around some more and then they GO THERE. They do that thing, they let it rip and that‘s what makes certain performance “pop” and others not so much. No film is entirely pretend. In a sense all performances are documentary-“real” if you allow the deep-down to come forward in your perceptions.

“Whatever the on-screen persona or character, whatever the makeup, it is nigh on impossible to obfuscate the person. Not only that, but it records them doing what inspired them the most — acting. A film is the plate on which a butterfly is preserved.” — Checking On My Sausages, 7.30.10.