Tributes are flowing in following the news of iconic New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s death at 91. The French-Swiss director, known for films like Breathless and Alphaville, died Tuesday, according to newspaper Libération and other French media outlets, citing relatives of the director.
The impact of Godard’s work has been vast, including for many working directors, writers, and actors. After the filmmaker’s death was announced on Tuesday morning, numerous filmmakers, world leaders, and celebrities reflected on his work.
French president Emmanuel Macron was one of the first to weigh in, noting on Twitter that Godard became “a master” of French Cinema and that “we have lost a national treasure.”
Director Edgar Wright called Godard “one of the most influential, iconoclastic film-makers of them all.” He recalled, “As one of a zillion examples, I discovered while making my [Sparks] doc that myself & Russell Mael had made, 25 years apart, near identical Breathless/Godard spoofs at college. His was ‘Très sérieux’ and mine was ‘À Bout De Lemon Souffle’. Apologies JLG. Nous t’aimons!”
Other filmmakers and actors also paid tribute. Scott Derrickson noted, “Goodbye Jean-Luc Godard. He changed the form of cinema like Bob Dylan changed the form of music.”
“Adieu, Jean-Luc Godard,” Stephen Fry wrote on Twitter. “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?”
Guillermo del Toro shared the news, but didn’t offer any sentiments about Godard, noting that the director “has passed away.”
Cannes Film Festival posted a retrospective of the director’s career highlights on Twitter, noting, “Since his first appearance at the Festival in ‘Cleo de 5 à 7’ in 1962, 21 films by Jean-Luc Godard have been screened in Cannes.”
Cameron Bailey, CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival, shared that while the currently scheduled screenings for the event will not be updated to feature films from Godard, his deep-rooted influence is visible throughout the lineup.
“Jean-Luc Godard might have despised posthumous praise but here we are,” Bailey wrote on Twitter. “His staggering body of work over seven decades showed him to be a rare, true genius in cinema. It was playful and punishing. It challenged every viewer, and rewarded the persistent.”
He added: “Godard was merciless in his pursuit of what (and how) images mean. For his every confrontation that expanded our art form, we will be forever in his debt.”