News of Godard’s death was first reported by the French newspaper Liberation. It has since been confirmed by his lawyer that the director ended his life by assisted death.
Patrick Jeanneret told AFP that due to being “stricken with ‘multiple incapacitating illnesses’”, Godard “had recourse to legal assistance in Switzerland for a voluntary departure”.
Godard was known for directing a run of radical, medium-changing films throughout the 1960s, including his feature debut Breathless and Alphaville.
Along with contemporaries such as Éric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, and François Truffaut, the Paris-born Godard was a central figure in the Nouvelle Vague, an experimental film movement that emerged in France in the late 1950s.
Several of his films are frequently cited among the best movies ever made.
Alongside a black and white photograph of the “iconoclastic” Godard, Macron’s tribute read: “It was like an apparition in French cinema. Then he became a master.
“Jean-Luc Godard, the most iconoclastic of New Wave filmmakers, had invented a resolutely modern, intensely free art. We have lost a national treasure, one regarded as a genius.”
Ce fut comme une apparition dans le cinéma français. Puis il en devint un maître. Jean-Luc Godard, le plus iconoclaste des cinéastes de la Nouvelle Vague, avait inventé un art résolument moderne, intensément libre. Nous perdons un trésor national, un regard de génie. pic.twitter.com/bQneeqp8on
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 13, 2022
National Secretary of the French Communist Party Fabien Roussel honoured the filmmaker’s storied legacy in a Twiter post: “Jean-Luc Godard, who made films like no one else, has left us.
“How disgusting is that?”, he continued, referring to a famous bit of dialogue in Breathless, adding, “The death of a creator.”
Baby Driver director Edgar Wright honoured Godard in a Twitter post, which read: “RIP Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most influential, iconoclastic film-makers of them all.
“It was ironic that he himself revered the Hollywood studio film-making system, as perhaps no other director inspired as many people to just pick up a camera and start shooting...”
The British Film Institute (BFI) bid “adieu to a giant of cinema who ripped up the rule book”.
“From Breathless onwards, he tested the limits of the medium,” the statement continued.
BBC News Culture Editor Katie Razzall tweeted: “RIP the revolutionary, the iconoclastic, the master of French cinema, Jean-Luc Godard.”
North America and the UK’s chief content officer forTime Out, Dave Calhoun’s tribute to Godard read: “Shaking things up for seven decades pretty much. Genius. Troublemaker. Often baffling. Always demanded you stop and take notice. RIP.”
Author Matt Kennard remembered “the greatest” director in a tweet which read: “In film, he changed everything”.
In his homage to the director, writer and editor Lee Zachariah noted his “early works are practically without peer”.
He continued: “Breathless was my entry into French New Wave, inspiring me to always order dessert, pretend I need a newspaper, then skip out on the bill. RIP.”
British author and actor Stephen Fry bid “adieu” to Godard, also praising him for Breathless: “It still leaps off the screen like few movies. That scene between them in the hotel: how many other directors could have managed that in so small a space and made it so captivating?”
Adieu, Jean-Luc Godard. I watched Breathless for the umpteenth time again just two weeks ago. It still leaps off the screen like few movies. That scene between them in the hotel: how many other directors could have managed that in so small a space and made it so captivating?
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) September 13, 2022
Lebanese-American professor As’ad AbuKhalil wrote that Godard “represented the opposite of Hollywood”.
“He was a consistently true friend of the Palestinian people and for that he suffered from vicious Zionist (terribly unfair) accusations of antisemitism,” AbuKhalil remembered.
“Farewell legend,” Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan added, writing that the French filmmaker’s passing “has left a huge void in world cinema”.
“He was instrumental in realising the idea of a political cinema with Marxist outlook and free from the existing modes of cinematic production,” he shared.