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Jump Cut At the Lightbox: Godard Forever: Part One

Without the work of Jean-Luc Godard, there would be no TIFF Bell Lightbox. Godard, along with the Nouvelle Vague movement in cinema, introduced filmgoing audiences to the concept of film as intellectual pieces of art. Moreover, his films taught audiences that cinema could be so much more than populist escapist fare. Like the most renowned artists, he toyed with the conventions and possibilities of his art form. He brazenly used long takes, the breaking of the fourth wall, and jump cuts that audiences viewing modern films now take for granted. His ease with genre-hopping shaped the works of Denis, while his characters’ breaking of the fourth wall certainly had an influence on Scorsese, and McQueen’s intense long-take in Hunger pales in comparison to that in Godard’s Breathless, and the list goes on with a myriad number of modern filmmakers paying tribute to this unique auteur through their work.

The original French title of Jean-Luc Godard’s film Band of Outsiders is Bande a Part. The meaning of bande a part refers to those that are not members of the mainstream, those that march to a different drummer. What Godard has accomplished is to set in motion a revolution of those whose films do not strictly conform to the mainstream. The TIFF Bell Lightbox mainly showcases the work of those that provoke the status quo, and challenges accepted notions of the confines and definition of an art space. What Canada was lacking prior to the inception of the Lightbox in 2010, was a place that adhered to the vision of Jean-Luc Godard and his band of outsiders.

Filmgoers should revel in the opportunity to explore the oeuvre of this visionary auteur. Cinephiles that have yet to experience the breathlessness of viewing Godard’s body of work on the big screen (and in glorious 35mm or archival prints), need to attend this tribute to a master. The multi-part retrospective begins by showcasing his earlier, and, some say, more accessible works of art. From the gangster film noir tribute Breathless (1960) to the disintegration of a relationship in Vivre Sa Vie (1962) to his increasingly political, anti-war polemics Pierrot le Fou (which some consider his masterpiece), Masculin Feminin (1966), and the bleak and nihilistic Weekend (1967), these are just a smattering of the shining beacons in this portion of the retrospective.

Godard Forever: Part One runs at the TIFF Bell Lightbox from January 23rd until February 13th 2014. For more information and tickets, visit

Leora Heilbronn is a Toronto-based writer. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Volver), Coen Bros. (Burn After Reading), Dardennes (Lorna's Silence), Haneke (The Piano Teacher), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Certified Copy), Lynch (Mulholland Drive), Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds), Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), von Trier (Melancholia)

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