Multiple French media outlets have reported relatives of Godard had confirmed the news of his passing on Tuesday.
His movies broke with the established conventions of French cinema and helped kickstart a new way of filmmaking, complete with handheld camera work, jump cuts and existential dialogue. Godard was not alone in creating France’s new wave, a credit he shares with at least a dozen peers including Francois Truffaut and Eric Rohmer.
However, he was one of the most prolific of his peers, producing dozens of short- and full-length films over more than half a century from the late 1950s. His debut feature Breathless was released in 1960. Godard became a “god” to many of the political and artistic radicals of the 1960s, who hung on every word of his often contradictory—and tongue-in-cheek—statements about the state of cinema and the world.
During his long career, Godard was awarded an honorary César in 1987 and 1998, and received an honorary Academy Award in 2010. French newspaper Liberation was the first to report Godard’s death.
However, he never regained the power to shock or move a more mainstream audience as he had in the 1960s, although a small group of disciples remained fiercely loyal to the master. But his regular appearances at the Cannes Film Festival — often via FaceTime — still drew crowds, even if he no longer had the clout of when he managed to shut down the festival entirely in solidarity with student protests in Paris in 1968.