Iconic French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard died at the age of 91 in Switzerland. The news was confirmed on Tuesday, by one of his relatives. The ingenious “enfant terrible” of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard revolutionised popular cinema in 1960 with his debut feature Breathless and stood for years as one of the world’s most vital and provocative directors.
Jean defied convention over a long career that began in the 1950s as a film critic. He rewrote rules for camera, sound and narrative. His films propelled Jean-Paul Belmondo to stardom and his controversial modern nativity play Hail Mary grabbed headlines when Pope John Paul II denounced it in 1985.
Jean also made a string of films, often politically charged and experimental, which pleased few outside a small circle of fans and frustrated many critics through their purported overblown intellectualism. Jean harboured a life-long sympathy for various forms of socialism depicted in films ranging from the early 1970s to the early 1990s.
In December 2007, he was honoured by the European Film Academy with a lifetime achievement award. In 2010, Jean released Film Socialisme, a film in three chapters first shown at the Cannes Film Festival. He spent his last years living at Rolle in Switzerland, near where he grew up along the shores of Lake Geneva.