Jean-Luc Godard, the legendary film director who played a key role in the revolutionary French New Wave of cinema, passed away on Tuesday. He was 91 years old. Read on to know how did Jean-Luc Godard die and what was the cause of his death.
Godard was best known for influential 1960s movies such as Breathless, Contempt, and Sympathy for the Devil. His film Goodbye to Language (2014) and a 2018 documentary were both shown at the Cannes Film Festival.
He also won an Honorary Oscar “for passion, for confrontation, and for a new kind of cinema” in 2010. However, he claimed that the awards meant “nothing” to him.
How did Jean-Luc Godard die?
Jean-Luc Godard died at his home on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at home in Rolle, Switzerland, by assisted suicide. Godard’s longtime legal adviser Patrick Jeanneret announced the tragic news via The New York Times.
He confirmed that Godard died “peacefully at home” in Switzerland with his wife Anne-Marie Mieville by his side.
“He was not sick, he was simply exhausted. So he had made the decision to end it. It was his decision and it was important for him that it be known,” he revealed.
Why was Jean-Luc Godard assisted suicide?
Assisted suicide is the practice of committing suicide with the assistance of another person, especially taking lethal drugs provided by a doctor for the purpose of providing a patient suffering from a terminal illness or incurable condition with a quick and painless death.
Godard was assisted suicide in Switzerland where the practice is legal. His lawyer Jeanneret told AFP that Godard’s death followed a medical report of “multiple disabling pathologies.”
Jeanneret added that Godard “decided with a great lucidity, as he had all his life, to say, ‘Now, it’s enough.’
Jean-Luc Godard Spearheaded the French New Wave of Cinema
Jean-Luc Godard was born on December 3, 1930, in Paris to a wealthy French-Swiff family. He grew up to become a radical and rarely commercial filmmaker. His first film Breathless (A Bout de Souffle) pushed both Godard and lead actor Jean-Paul Belmondo to international fame.
Godard earlier started his career as a film critic and then stepped behind the camera with his stylish and edgy vision. After his breakout, he directed a series of highly popular and successful movies including Contempt (Le Mépris) and Pierrot le Fou.
He never feared bringing politics into his work and produced a documentary on France’s war in Algeria. His was initially banned and later got attacked as polemics. Godard was popular for his iconoclastic style with unbending radicalism.
Godard once said: “It was a film that took everything that cinema had done – girls, gangsters, cars – exploded all this and put an end, once and for all, to the old style.”
French President Emmanuel Macron pays tribute to Jean-Luc Godard
Emmanuel Macron has paid tribute to Jean-Luc Godard calling him a “national treasure” with the “vision of a genius.”
Ce fut comme une apparition dans le cinéma français. Puis il en devint un maître. Jean-Luc Godard, le plus iconoclaste des cinéastes de la Nouvelle Vague, avait inventé un art résolument moderne, intensément libre. Nous perdons un trésor national, un regard de génie. pic.twitter.com/bQneeqp8on— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 13, 2022
In a tribute on Twitter, the French president wrote, “He was like an apparition in French cinema. Then he became a master of it.
“Jean-Luc Godard, the most iconoclastic of New Wave filmmakers, invented a resolutely modern, intensely free art. We have lost a national treasure, a man who had the vision of a genius.”
Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and loved ones. May the legendary director rest in peace.