The ongoing coronavirus lockdown has led many artists to get creative about live-streaming, with many names performing or speaking directly to their audience over Instagram Live. One name we didn’t expect to see do this, however, is Jean-Luc Godard.
The 89-year-old director and icon of French New Wave cinema gave a masterclass over Instagram Live yesterday. In a discussion with Lionel Baier, head of the cinema department of ECAL (University of Art and Design Lausanne), Godardd discussed ‘images at the time of coronavirus’, speaking for over 90 minutes from his home in Switzerland while chomping a fat cigar.
As C News reports (translated to English via Google Translate, so bear with us if this is a little clunky), the À bout de souffle director said that “the virus is a communication: like what we are doing ... of which we are not going to die, but maybe we are not able to live well”.
However, the majority of the discussion was not about coronavirus, but about Godard’s own philosophies. Godard returned to a subject that he has frequently explored in his work – the inadequacy of language – and paid tribute to the late Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer, both former New Wave colleagues.
He also talked about his working methods, saying, “I write by hand if possible. Before I typed, but I prefer to write by hand. Very often I write very small. Afterwards, I cannot read myself again. So I have to rewrite it,” as translated from Le Matin.
He also gave advice to young filmmakers: “During the New Wave, I thought that cinema should be taught at the University. As now it takes a baccalaureate X years for everything, I would rather recommend that they go home and do something else.”
Although the idea of Godard talking on Instagram Live is a bit like finding out that Brigette Bardot has a TikTok account, it’s not entirely out of the ordinary. While promoting his film The Image Book at Cannes in 2018, Godard held a press conference via FaceTime, with journalists posing questions to the filmmaker via a smartphone held by one of the festival organisers.
Update, 04/05: The recording has been translated into English. Watch it below.