Jean-Luc Godard

"You don’t make a movie, the movie makes you."

Jean-Luc Godard

A giant of cinema and driving force of the French new wave, Godard’s work of the past six decades has consistently innovated, provoked and inspired. His vast and varied output includes short films, video essays, self-portraits, commercial commissions, TV films and series, books, a major exhibition, and 35 features.

Born in 1930, and active as a critic from 1950 before making his first feature À bout de souffle in 1960, Jean-Luc Godard is a seminal director who has influenced filmmakers as diverse as Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, Bernardo Bertolucci and Quentin Tarantino. Godard conceived his semi-improvised, location-shot first feature À bout de soufflé (1960) – based on a treatment by François Truffaut – as a manifesto for a new type of filmmaking. Drawing on a deep knowledge of film history, he set out to do everything that cinema had done up to that point, but differently. This approach has sustained a 60-odd year career of relentless innovation, which has helped define and redefine the boundaries of filmmaking as a discipline, and established Godard as a multifaceted poet of word, image and sound.

Where to start with such an extensive, dazzling and challenging body of work? Here's our guide to some of the early films.

And here's where to start with his later work. Enjoy!