Jean-Luc Godard, pioneer of French New Wave cinema, dies at 91 of assisted suicide

President Emmanuel Macron describes Franco-Swiss director as 'national treasure, genius'

2022-09-13 15:32:27


French-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard, a pioneer of the French New Wave cinema, died at age 91 by assisted suicide, local media reported on Tuesday.

According to confirmation to daily Liberation by his relative, Godard made the decision to end his life. "He was not sick, he was simply exhausted," the relative said.

He passed away peacefully at his home in Rolle, Switzerland surrounded by his loved ones, a statement from the family said.

Assisted suicide is authorized by law in Switzerland.

In a tribute on Twitter, French President Emmanuel Macron praised Godard as a "national treasure" and "genius.”

"Jean-Luc Godard appeared as if by magic in the world of French cinema – and became a master of it," he said. "As the most revolutionary filmmaker of the New Wave, he invented a truly modern and intensely free art. We have lost a national treasure and the eye of a genius."

Godard's debut feature film Breathless, released in 1960, became a cult classic of the New Wave cinema with its striking filmmaking style. The movie also gifted French cinema with Jean-Paul Belmondo, who became a major star.

Belmondo was among Godard's close circle of collaborating artists alongside French-Danish model Anna Karina, whom the director married in 1961. They divorced in 1965.

Swiss filmmaker Anne-Marie Mieville became his partner after the breakdown of his second marriage to French actress Anne Wiazemsky.

Godard further fortified his position in world cinema with notable works, including The Little Soldier, My Life to Live, Contempt, A Woman is a Woman, Alphaville, The Chinese, Pierrot le Fou, and Band of Outsiders, among others.