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Godard’s art, inseparable from painting

Godard and painting: subject of thesis or essay, to be included in a very long-term interrogation on the relationship between cinema and painting, and in which Godard would find himself in the company of many of his colleagues. Failing to engage in such reflection, we must limit ourselves to noting the abundance and frequency of quotations or pictorial allusions in his films; and that these were noticed very early on, to such an extent that it does not seem excessive to think that, with Godard, cinema and painting are inseparable.

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In Pierrot le fou (1965), Ferdinand – Jean-Paul Belmondo – has his face painted in Yves Klein-like blue and photos of the shoot show that it was the filmmaker who held the brush before taking to do the actor’s make-up. And, about the film, Louis Aragon publishes in French letters, on September 9, 1965, an article titled What is art, Jean-Luc Godard? “But Godard is Delacroix. » Follows the evocation of The Death of Sardanapaluswhom Aragon saw recently at the Louvre. « It’s about what art of Delacroix here looks like art of Godard in Pierrot le fou. Doesn’t that jump out at you? » Crazy Pierrot, he continues, « So it’s like Sardanapalus, a color film. On the big screen. Which is distinguished from all color films by the fact that the use of a medium at Godard always has a aim, and almost constantly includes his criticism. It’s not just about the fact that it’s well photographed, that the colors are beautiful… It’s very well photographed, the colors are very beautiful. It’s about something else. »

text and image

This  » something else « , it is the density of sensations, memories and ideas that the film arouses, like the canvas. At 35, here is Godard equal to Delacroix, who painted his Sardanapalus at 29, by a French writer, Aragon, whose notoriety was immense at the time. Which author continues by also placing Godard under another sign: « If I also wanted, I would approach J. L. G. by the coast of painters to seek the origin of one of the characteristics of his art for which he is most reproached. The quotation, as the critics say, the collages as I proposed it be called, and I seemed to see, in interviews, that Godard had taken up this term. » But collage is Picasso, Braque, Schwitters and Ernst, cubism, Dada and surrealism.

As its title suggests, « Le Livre d’image » brings together all those who have participated, blatantly or underground, in the cinema of Godard.

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