Jean-Luc Godard

In the mid-seventies, following his experiences in auteur cinema during the Nouvelle Vague period and then with his political activism as animator and co-creator of audiovisual works in the Dziga Vertov cinema group, Jean-Luc Godard, together with director Anne-Marie Miéville, created a series of openly experimental works for television.
With a courageously independent choice, he founded in 1972, together with Miéville, the Sonimage alternative production and distribution company, employing video and television as his instruments of expression. It was during those years that he created his two important series: Six fois deux / Sur et sous la communication (Six Times Two / Over and Under Communication), 1976 and France / tour / détour / deux / enfants (France / Tour / Detour / Two / Children), 1978.
In concentrating their research on the meanings and modalities of signification of video in relation to mass media, work, the family institution, and individuals, Godard and Miéville reinvented the potentials of television, elaborating a vast series of reflections regarding the use of media images and, more generally, the discussion connected to these, in relation to contemporary society. These visual essays, punctuated by written or spoken words, synthesize a complex discussion on the ideological and social implications unleashed by television, advertising, and more inclusively by the entire universe of images in motion.
By adopting an essential and harsh television language, reinventing it from within, they developed a new style that went beyond the distinctions among the documentary, the interview, and the reportage, thanks to the use of a series of precise techniques: slow motion, the long-shot, the fixed camera, the overlapping of texts on images, and the inter-textual collage of images from diverse sources (photography, cinema, and television). Preferring a theoretical and philosophical approach, equally centered on the material nature of daily life, these works do not use professional actors but ordinary people as subject matter: schoolchildren, people at work, the artists themselves. And it is precisely their presence, even when not immediately detected, that contributes to the strong reflective tension and intellectual rigor that distinguishes every part and every discussion elaborated in the works.
More recently, Godard once again took up and further transformed the idea of the video-essay in a series made for television. [F.B.]

List of Works

Six fois deux / Sur et sous la communication (Six Times Two / Over and Under Communication), 1976
in collaboration with Anne-Marie Miéville
video, color, sound, 9 hrs. 57 min.
Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo
Six Fois Deux, Part IA: Y a personne (Six Times Two, Part IA: Nobody’s There), 1976
video, color, sound, 57 min. 20 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part IB: Louison (Six Times Two, Part IB: Louison), 1976
video, color, sound, 41 min. 43 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 2A: Leçons de choses (Six Times Two, Part 2A: Lessons about Things), 1976
video, color, sound, 51 min. 30 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 2B: Jean-Luc (Six Times Two, Part 2 B: Jean-Luc), 1976
video, color, sound, 47 min. 50 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 3A: Photos et cie (Six Times Two, Part 3A: Photos and Company), 1976
video, color, sound, 45 min. 33 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 3B: Marcel (Six Times Two, Part 3B: Marcel), 1976
video, color, sound, 54 min. 48 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 4A: Pas d’histoire (Six Times Two, Part 4A: No History), 1976
video, color, sound, 56 min. 34 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 4B: Nanas (Six Times Two, Part 4b: Nanas), 1976
video, color, sound, 42 min. 30 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 5A: Nous trois (Six Times Two, Part 5 A: We Three), 1976
video, color, sound, 52 min. 10 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 5B: René(e)s (Six Times Two, Part 5B: René(e)s), 1976
video, color, sound, 52 min. 56 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 6A: Avant et après (Six Times Two, Part 6 A: Before and After), 1976
video, color, sound, 44 min. 30 sec.
Six Fois Deux, Part 6B: Jacqueline et Ludovic (Six Times Two, Part 6B: Jacqueline and Ludovic), 1976
video, color, sound, 49 min. 58 sec.
Through an analysis of modalities and particularities “regarding and beyond” communication, Godard and Miéville provokingly analyze the power constituted by media images with regards to our culture and daily life.
Each program is divided into two complementary sections: coupled with every “essaying” section, centered around an aspect of image production and consumption, there is an interview regarding an individual and his/her relationship with work and leisure time. We therefore see, by way of example, an amateur filmmaker, a breeder, a mathematician, and Godard himself. Through extended interviews, we are offered a personal, “subjective” counter-reply to the most overtly theoretical part regarding work, the economy, and mass cultural imagery.
In a coherent and concise social and meta-communicative analysis, the critique of television conventions solicits the traditional opinions of the viewer, redefining the forms and modes of television reception.

France / tour / détour / deux / enfants (France / Tour / Detour / Two / Children), 1978
in collaboration with Anne-Marie Miéville
video, color, sound, 5 hrs. 12 min.
Purchased with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo
In a twelve-part television cycle, Godard and Miéville deconstruct and recompose with precise formal care the intimate and everyday world of two children in modern-day France, paying particular attention to all of those details, looks, and gestures that when isolated give us a significant picture of this fragile slice of society.
The interviews with the two young schoolchildren, Camille and Arnaud, alternated with scenes regarding their days at home and at school, are followed by the comments of two television journalists who reread what they have witnessed. The entire audiovisual work is a study on the effects produced by television on families and their children.
Alternated with multi-textual collages made up of TV, advertising, and movie images, this video analyzes the social, economic, and ideological dynamics and functions that presuppose the mass-media universe.
As the work unfolds, it becomes evident how the world of children is equally programmed by the family and by television.

Artworks