Jean-Luc Godard (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃lyk ɡɔdaʁ]; born 3 December 1930) is a French-Swiss film director, screenwriter and film critic. He is often identified with the 1960s French film movement, French Nouvelle Vague, or "New Wave".
Like his New Wave contemporaries, Godard criticized mainstream French cinema's "Tradition of Quality", which "emphasized craft over innovation, privileged established directors over new directors, and preferred the great works of the past to experimentation." To challenge this tradition, he and like-minded critics started to make their own films. Many of Godard's films challenge the conventions of traditional Hollywood in addition to French cinema. He is often considered the most radical French filmmaker of the 1960s and 1970s. Several of his films express his political views. His films express his knowledge of film history through their references to earlier films. In addition, Godard's films often cite existentialism as he was an avid reader of existential and Marxist philosophy. His radical approach in film conventions, politics and philosophies made him the most influential filmmaker of the French New Wave. Possibly his greatest, most innovative, but also most difficult work is the multi-part video project Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988-1998).
After the New Wave, his politics have been much less radical and his recent films are about representation and human conflict from a humanist, not Marxist perspective.
In a 2002 Sight and Sound poll, Godard ranked third in the critics' top ten directors of all time (which was put together by assembling the directors of the individual films for which the critics voted). He has created "one of the largest bodies of critical analysis of any filmmaker since the mid-twentieth century." He and his work have been central to narrative theory and have "challenged both commercial narrative cinema norms and film criticism's vocabulary." In 2010, Godard was awarded an Academy Honorary Award, but did not attend the award ceremony. Godard's films have inspired diverse directors like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Altman, Jim Jarmusch, Wong Kar-wai, Wim Wenders, Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Paul Thomas Anderson, Arthur Penn, Hal Hartley, Richard Linklater, Gregg Araki, John Woo, Richard Lester, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Brian De Palma, Oliver Stone and Ken Loach.