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Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard Hardcover – May 13, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; Revised edition (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805068864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805068863
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Comprehensive and fascinating, this critical biography of one of the leading filmmakers of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard, by New Yorker editor and film critic Brody offers the significant events and achievements of the cinematic innovator who combined an eye-opening concoction of art, politics, music, personal values and social mores. The author reveals an isolated yet driven creative genius who rises from writing articles for the pioneering Cahiers du Cinéma magazine with Truffaut, Rivette and Rohmer to soaring early successes with his films Breathless, Contempt, Masculine Feminine, A Married Woman to the later controversial gems, First Name: Carmen, Hail Mary and Detective. Godard, according to Brody, compares in critical importance to Picasso in his artistry, as the director's puzzling complexity is revealed through scores of interviews with family, colleagues and crew. Throughout the book, the key personal elements of Godard's chaotic love life provide added spark. This is a completely enjoyable and revealing account of an enigmatic director whose singular creativity will not allow him to make commercial compromises. (May)
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"Richard Brody's biography of Godard—arguably the most important, enigmatic, and exciting filmmaker of the second half of the 20th century—effortlessly weaves intellectual history, a personal saga, and an authoritative reading of the films themselves into a seamless web. It virtually crackles with intelligence, and is a must read for anyone interested in cinema."—Peter Biskind, author of Gods and Monsters: Thirty Years of Writing on Film and Culture

"Full of lucid analysis and human context, Richard Brody's book performs a heroic act in rescuing Godard and his growing shelf of works from the prison of myth and theory, from the cult of youth and the cult of the '60s, restoring him to his place as an engaged, hard-working artist."—Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude

"Godard changed the movies as much as the American masters he grew up on: Welles, Hawks, Hitchcock, and the rest. He is as original as Picasso—but unlike Picasso, he has been denied the biography he has always deserved. This is it. Just at the moment when the New Wave turns fifty, Richard Brody has given us Everything is Cinema, a remarkable book which describes with sharp intelligence a great and elusive artist's times, intellect, passions, and work."—Wes Anderson, writer and director of Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic

"Everything Is Cinema is better than a biography, it is a novel. And a great novel, in which one discovers the story of a man who almost picked the wrong art form, a struggling writer who became an immense filmmaker."—Bernard-Henri Lévy, author of American Vertigo

Customer Reviews

I read it slowly to savor each chapter and movie.
Amazon Customer
Thoroughly engrossing read, written in an easy flowing style without the inflections of worship or prejudice.
Stephen Mackenzie
An excellent overview of the life and work of Godard.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cliff Burns on November 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
I must congratulate Mr. Brody for his in-depth examination of one the the great auteurs of cinema, a man who has consistently defied convention and created a body of work unlike anyone else in his profession.

Writing about Jean Luc Godard in an exercise in exasperation because the director is deliberately elliptical, leaving his films, methods and aesthetic open to discussion and varied interpretations. Branded, alternately, a fascist sympathizer, a communist, an anarchist and everything in between, Godard continues (to this day) to work at his own pace, exploring the themes that fascinate him without apology to critics, colleagues or even his most devoted followers and acolytes.

It is very easy to look foolish when discussing an artist as fluid, ever-evolving and unabashedly personal as Godard, but Mr. Brody's book treats its subject with finesse, subtlety, erudition and respect.

A superb meditation on a cinematic master.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Richard Patterson on September 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The thing that struck me as I read this was that Brody seems more enamored of the idea of what he thinks Godard was doing as an artist than he is with the actual films he made - at least with the films he made during the first decade or so. Colin MacCabe's Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy seems more readable and more able to see the films as something other than opaque autobiography. Needless to say either book will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about Godard's personal life, although MacCabe, unlike Brody, shows some reticence in exploring his love life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donna Nueva on September 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
if you love godard, you must have this book,by THE NEW YORKER film reviewer, richard brody.he offers an insightful biography of godard, and his influences, the reviews are in chronological order, and are MUST READS, after watching the dvds. his treatment of BREATHLESS is packed with information and astute observations. it is absolutely amazing that BREATHLESS was godard's first film. keep this book by your dvd player!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr René Codoni on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"(Richard Brody's) Everything is Cinema", famous French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy is quoted as commenting on the back cover, "is better than a biography, it is a novel". Fiction, in other words. I prefer to invoke the title of a Charles Mingus composition, viz "All the things you'd be by now if Sigmund Freud's wife were your mother": Over nearly 600 pages, page by page, precisely and adoringly, emerges the profile of a total neurotic, a mysogenist misanthrope, a miser.

A bit of a private life component may be the spice of a biography, but if nothing else but his private (ie off-screen) life is advanced to determine and explain all of Godard's films and video activities, the reader tires rather quickly: In the end, Le mépris (1963) is an excellent and intelligent film because Alberto Moravia's underlying novel is great (sociological rather than psychological) analysis, and Godard a skilled and innovative metteur en scene.

Some things are irrelevant, like his failed alliance with a relatively more mature Marina Vlady - Anne-Marie Miéville, the author rightly remarks, will be the first and only of Godard's women of equal caliber. And whether Godard held hands with Brigitte Bardot walking up the stairs of Curzio Malaparte's avant-gardist villa is about as irrelevant as his "accusation" of François Truffaut of having had a candid affair with Jacqueline Bisset during the turning of La nuit américaine (1973), and not showing it in that movie... ("how come only the director has no affair in that film?").

Brody's method of endless narration makes it difficult for him, and subsequently the reader, to in any defined way assess the weight/quality of Godard's individual films. This is perhaps the main weakness of the book.
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