In 1978, Jean-Luc Godard improvised a series of fourteen talks for a projected history of cinema on video. These talks, published in French in 1980 and long out of print, have never before been translated into English. This edition, based on the sole videotape copies of the lectures, corrects the faulty and incomplete French version and is the only complete edition in any language. The volume is accompanied by an essay by Michael Witt thoroughly documenting Godard's various film history projects and by 56 full-page film stills manipulated by Godard and 24 illustrations in his own hand. For this project, Godard screened his own famous films of the 1960s alongside single reels of some of the films which most influenced his work. Working at the dawn of video, a technology essential to his completion of the project many years later, as the visual essay Histoire(s) du cinéma, Godard used pieces of 35mm film, projected in an auditorium, to approximate the historical montage he was groping towards. He then held forth, in an experience he describes as a form of 'public self-psychoanalysis', on his personal and professional relationships, working methods, aesthetic preferences, political beliefs and, on the cusp of 50, his philosophy of life. The result is the most extensive and revealing account ever of his work and critical opinions. Never has Godard been as loquacious, lucid and disarmingly frank as he is here. This volume is one of the great classics of film literature, by perhaps the wittiest and most idiosyncratic genius the cinema has known.
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