Throughout his long and fruitful career, Jean-Luc Godard has made films that, to put it mildly, challenge the status-quo. From his 1960 French New Wave debut “Breathless,” to his most recent endeavor, the narratively incoherent “Goodbye to Language” in 3D, it’s an inarguable fact that the man hasn’t lost much steam through the years. Fortunately for us die-hards, caboose, an independent film book publisher, has released Godard’s “Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television,” a collection of his famous 1978 Montreal lectures–in English for the first time.
In 1978, right before the director shifted his attention to more mainstream work (his 1980 “Every Man for Himself,” for example) he improvised 14 one-hour long lectures on the history of film at Concordia University in Montreal. While the lectures were immediately transcribed and released in French, caboose’s release marks the first time anyone will get to experience this Godard landmark in English.
In a lecture to a student audience, Godard showed some of his own films, presenting them side by side with the works–by directors such as Roberto Rossellini and Sergei Eisenstein–that most influenced his career. In addition to this, Godard expounded upon his personal relationship with François Truffaut, Anna Karina and the film producers that were linked to his career. Most importantly, however, his lectures included a presentation of his “History of Cinema” video project, which looks at the relationship between image and text in film–a central component to his Cannes entry this year, “Goodbye to Language.”
“Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television” is a 560-page volume that includes 82 illustrations by the director himself and an essay written by scholar Michael Witt. The book is available at the caboose website selling for $50.