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Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  379 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews

A “serious-minded and meticulously detailed . . . account of the lifelong artistic journey†of one of the most influential filmmakers of our age (The New York Times)

When Jean-Luc Godard wed the ideals of filmmaking to the realities of autobiography and current events, he changed the nature of cinema. Unlike any earlier films, Godard’s work shifts fluidly from fiction

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Paperback, 720 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Picador (first published May 13th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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David
Jan 05, 2010 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Vivre Sa Vie
2. Pierrot Le Fou
3. Weekend
4. Band of Outsiders
5. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her
6. Alphaville
7. A Woman Is a Woman
8. Breathless
9. Contempt
10. Masculin Féminin
11. Une Femme Mariée
12. Passion
13. Notre Musique
14. Prénom Carmen
15. Hail Mary
16. Le Petit Soldat
17. Tout Va Bien
18. Ici et Ailleurs
19. Eloge de L'amour
20. Numero Deux

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Les Carabiniers
Made in U.S.A.
JLG/JLG
La Chinoise
Detective


THE HALL OF SHAME:
King Lear
Soigne Ta Droite
For Ever Mozart
Le Gai Savoir
Comment ça va?
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Steven  Godin
The man who helped change the face of cinema with the french new wave, this book literally leaves no stone unturned in terms of his career. Having first discovered a Godard film by complete chance about fifteen years ago on TV in the early hours of the morning I have been transfixed with his work ever since, the french culture, the women, the style and the cool looks, all bound together with his unique vision of film making. That first film was 'Weekend' which at the time I hated, but this would ...more
Tosh
Jun 27, 2008 Tosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Brody's very long critical biography on one of the great film artists of the 20th Century is both thoughtful, damning (in a sense) and also provocative. I don't fully buy his theory that all the films he made in the 60's was about Godard's relationship with wife/muse Anna Karina. I think it is partly true, but it's for sure not the whole picture of the man and his work. But a big part...?

i really enjoyed the part of the book that deals with Godard's later years. It seems he consistently
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Djll
I'm so used to reading books on Godard by the post-Marxist Colin MacCabe, I'm having a hard time with this one because it's so far a fairly apolitical review of the director's life. Not that there's anything wrong about that. I'm just surprised, especially after seeing the size of Richard Brody's beard on the inside flap.
(100 pp later)
OK, so there's lots of politics in the book, only because Godard was so intensely engaged with the political issues of his day. I like Brody's way of putting each
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Matt
Jun 25, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
In Richard Brody's tour-de-force of film scholarship, he delves deeply into one of the most labyrinthine oeuvres in all of cinema: Jean-Luc Godard.

The book is simply astounding in its scope: detailed background, production history, critical reception and analysis for no less than every film and video Godard has produced in his prolific career since 1959, often producing at a rate of 2 or 3 films per year. No less impressive is Brody's attention to detail in unpacking the insane web of references
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Matt
Apr 27, 2009 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I was really excited to pick this up since I've gone through a Godard obsession lately. I poured over it and read it diligently for a few weeks.

The thing is...I had a lukewarm experience.

Brody does an amazing job of scholarship. Godard has made a huge amount of work and Brody really has seen ALL of it. No mean feat- particularly when the work is as dense and elliptical and challenging as Godard's.

While reading I thought that as I got frustratingly little on some the films I was most curious abou
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Ian
Jan 06, 2010 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great, dense, in depth look at all of Godard's work. Brody does an excellent job at weaving together, biography, the conditions surrounding the development and filming of a project, and insightful analysis of the work itself. Brody doesn't shy away from painting Godard in a negative light when the situation calls for it (and it often does). He perhaps spends a little more time on Godard's major output in the 60s, which is as it should be, but the great thing is that he doesn't slight the later ...more
Jonathan
May 27, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal, unflinching work covering the life and films of the artist.
Jeffrey Thomas
May 10, 2017 Jeffrey Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such an interesting book. Even when he is making films that are the most uninteresting stages for spouting Maoist and other utterly ideologically driven rhetoric, Brody’s telling of the filmmaker’s story is completely engaging. He tracks Godard’s evolution of filmmaking technique and the ideas about film and ideology that he tries to express in his films, so that, confident that his films from 1968 to, what, the early ‘70s? are well-nigh unwatchable, I want to watch them.
Even knowing that Godar
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Bob Andelman
Jun 18, 2017 Bob Andelman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I studied French New Wave cinema in college. Took it twice, in fact, in Professor Robert Ray’s class at the University of Florida. Little-known fact – my degree is actually in Film Studies.

Anyway, I loved the French New Wave films from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. What I didn’t care for was the over-inflated discussion that followed each screening.

I’d watch the movies, in awe of the storytelling, the jump cuts, the women, the casual sex – you get the idea. But when the lights came up, Professor
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James Wolf
While Everything is Cinema is an effective and interesting biography of Jean-Luc Godard, as a work of criticism it is a monumental failure. This failure is a direct result of Brody's attempt to merge Godard's biography with the meaning and impact of his films.

Brody insists over and over that the events in Godard's personal life are the primary, even sole, avenues to the interpretation of his films. While this makes for butter-smooth transitions between the biographical details of Godard's intim
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Mark Crouch
Sep 08, 2012 Mark Crouch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film
So this is pretty great. Brody's exhaustive biography of one of the most influential filmmakers/intellectuals of the 20th/21st century is a very deep and rewarding experience. When beginning this book my plan was after each chapter (which usually corresponded with a specific film(s)) was to watch the film that chapter covered. This stopped around Made in U.S.A. or 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her when I realized I'm not a robot and able to make it through all of these films over the course of just ...more
Christopher
Nov 07, 2015 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jean-Luc Godard's output has been prodigious, and this massive book by Richard Brody manages to cover most of Godard's films up to 2004 and how they relate to the auteur's life. Brody, who first came to prominence as a writer for The New Yorker, has seen every one of Godard's films, and not only does he take us from Godard's early life and first feature À bout de souffle up to his then most-recent feature Notre musique, but he also describes Godard's many short films and television works, some o ...more
Barry Hammond
Oct 06, 2014 Barry Hammond rated it really liked it
One of the leading stars of the French New Wave, along with Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer, Godard was also a critic for the famed Cahiers Du Cinema. Although he was one of the first to champion American films in post-war France and the Auteur theory (where directors are considered the authors of their films in the same way as authors of their books), an obsession with left-wing politics and a distrust of the written word (despite an equal obsession with liter ...more
Amanda
Oct 05, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone not particulariy involved with Godard's films (having only seen breathless) I picked this up more out of interest in general film theory and respect for the people who wrote the reviews on the back cover (Jonathon Lethem, Wes Anderson)than anything to do with Godard himself - superficial reasons to be sure. Obviously if I was more familiar with JLG's work I would have gotten more out of this book, however, as a notable member of the mid-century film autuers Godard's many philosophies, ...more
Jeffrey
Dec 11, 2008 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Film buffs, those who know Godard's work
Richard Brody believes in Jean-Luc Godard, if not necessarily in Godard's beliefs. That belief in Godard's aesthetic quality and talent is strong, but it undermines an otherwise insightful, well researched, and well constructed book.

"Everything is cinema," is Godard's expression that everything, or at least everything important, must be seen to be understood. It must be captured and held onto. Memory lasts only as long as those who remember. Words do not do justice or give us the greater underst
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Ryan Chapman
Jul 23, 2008 Ryan Chapman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
Brody doesn't pretend to get inside Godard's head, or write a biography in the polymathic nature of his subject's approach to cinema. Instead, he writes straightforward accounts of the director's career, steeped in research and relevant political and cinematic contexts. This may sound boring; it's revelatory. Godard was such a mercurial and self-doubting intellectual that one doesn't need bells and whistles to make his story compelling.

What Brody doesn't discuss, but feels like a natural addendu
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Rian
Feb 13, 2010 Rian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read or bought this yet, but it looks amazing. Brody's book is a 600 page biography about Godard, with blurbs on the back from Jonathan Lethem, Wes Anderson, and Bernard-Henri Lévy—so I am pretty sure it's quality. I just watched a Woman is Woman on NetFlix and I am in awe of his unique style and innovations, that were obviously direct influences on the artistic substratum of Gondry, Allen, and Kaufman—-my favorite contemporary directors. Even to this day, Godard's films still feel ahe ...more
Andrew Bishop
Jun 01, 2012 Andrew Bishop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, film
Sober and responsible, this is the book for building an understanding of the Godard universe. Recommended for devoted cinephiles, though. This is a good biography, but Brody covers a lot of ground that only iniates will recognize. Otherwise, it can seem like too much material. I enjoyed it because the situation of historical event - where Godard was often present in the seventies - helped me place him in better context. Unlike the sixties where it seemed that he just stayed in France, made those ...more
Andrew S.
Oct 24, 2008 Andrew S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't like Godard's films. OK? I watched them, I see them, but they don't attract me. I read this as deep cultural history. And then I watched "A Woman Is A Women" and hated it.

The biography is well written, engaging, exhaustive, and leads off the track to Artaud, Sartre while including Agnes Varda (who I like better as a film maker).

The book documents the interaction between French literary and cinematic traditions: Godard sincerely mimics "classic" American films while acknowledging the art
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Perry Willett
May 10, 2014 Perry Willett rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing. In addition to making Godard look like a pretty horrible person (accurate I'm sure) Brody also makes the films seem trivial. I don't think he intended the book to have either of those outcomes, but he really doesn't analyze the films to any depth beyond describing how Godard lied to his producers for funding, then proceeded to treat his actors and co-workers like dirt. I really like Brody's reviews in the New Yorker, so this is doubly disappointing.
Jason Coffman
Feb 22, 2011 Jason Coffman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Epic" hardly seems to cover the scope of this book. Author Richard Brody's incredibly ambitious, exhaustively researched, and thoroughly readable biography of Jean-Luc Godard is pretty damned amazing. Clocking in at over 600 pages, "Everything Is Cinema" should satisfy your curiosity regarding any aspect of Godard's filmmaking career. It also beautifully illustrates how Godard's life and work, more than perhaps any other filmmaker, have been inextricably linked.
Brett
Aug 20, 2008 Brett rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This exhaustive biography on JLG does a great job of making the ornery director look like a total shit, but fails miserably in expressing the sense of fun in many of his films and what caused him to achieve his legendary status. The book is most interesting and useful when it covers all those bizarre video projects and obnoxiously political films that you'll probably never see.
Tom
May 02, 2008 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit: I read only the first half of Brody's thoroughly researched biography, dealing with Godard's youth and the films up through La Chinoise and Weekend; it was a good companion to the recent Film Forum retrospective, "Godard's ’60s." My interest in the later films, and the book, flagged.
Joan
Jun 14, 2008 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well I finally finished this monster of a book. I can't say I retain any of the knowledge I read, other than the French filmmaker Godard likes making films about prostitues. But it was interesting and helped prepare me for film school.
Raquel
Jun 01, 2008 Raquel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cinephiles
A must-read for any cinephile, francophile, and cultural enthusiast. I wrote a review of the book for Forbes, which you can read here
Tráese
Brody does an excellent job taking us through Godard's life, thoughts, musings and chronicling his great works, definitely no light task!
Richard Anderson
Excellent guide to the sometimes enigmatic oeuvre of JLG. Actually he comes across as a fairly repellent and vain human being, but that's the man, not the work.
Nicholas Mennuti
Proves something I had suspected -- there is too much Godard. That said, it is a fascinating look into a man who never forsook experimental cinema or his politics even at the expense of his audience.
David Glenn Dixon
Jan 03, 2009 David Glenn Dixon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-money
First half only.
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Richard Brody began writing for The New Yorker in 1999, and has contributed articles about the directors François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Samuel Fuller. Since 2005, he has been the movie-listings editor at the magazine; he writes film reviews, a column about DVDs, and a blog about movies, The Front Row. He is the author of the book “Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard. ...more
More about Richard Brody...

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