Happy 90th Birthday to Jean-Luc Godard, the pioneering film director and screenwriter who rose to prominence as the most influential French filmmaker and catalyst for the New Wave movement in the 1960s.
He won global notoriety for his first feature in 1960 Breathless (pictured below) —and continued his experimentation with jump cuts, narrative, music, casual camerawork, and popping color that inspired directors like Scorsese, Tarantino, De Palma, Soderbergh, Altman, and Bernardo Bertolucci.
His collaborations with actresses Brigitte Bardot, in Contempt (Le Mépris), and with Anna Karina, his first wife — which included the critically acclaimed films Vivre sa Fri, Bande à part, and Pierrot le Fou—Were called “arguably the most influential body of work in the history of cinema.” SEE some highlights… (1930)
Godard’s latest film, Le free d’image (The Image Book), was filmed “in various Arab countries, including Tunisia” to portray the modern Arab World, and debuted in 2018. WATCH How Godard Liberated Cinema on YouTube, and a fun retrospective below…
MORE Good News on this Date:
- The Lewis and Clark Expedition marked their location on a pine tree during explorations from the Missouri River by land to the Columbia River (1805)
- Surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa performed the first human heart transplant and the patient lived 18 days with the new heart (1967)
- US hostage Alann Steen was released from Lebanese captivity after 4.8 years (1991)
- Representatives from 121 countries signed The Ottawa Treaty prohibiting the manufacture and the deployment of anti-personnel landmines (1997)
- Happy 60th Birthday to Julianne Moore, the actress and author from both indie and blockbuster films, who’s earned an Academy Award, two Emmys, and two Golden Globes (1960)
And, 187 years ago today, Oberlin College was founded by two Presbyterian ministers on 500 donated acres in Oberlin, Ohio. It was the first coeducational liberal arts college in the United States and the second oldest continuously operating coeducational institute of higher learning in the world. Oberlin also became one of the first American colleges to admit African-Americans. Notable alumni include several Nobel laureates, Thornton Wilder and a dozen other Pulitzer Prize winners, 12 MacArthur Fellows, actors Ed Helms and. Lena Dunham, and RadioLab and TV broadcaster Robert Krulwich. (1833)
Also, 31 years ago today, the Malta Summit produced a declaration by US President George HW Bush and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev saying the Cold War between the two nations that had lasted four decades was over. News reports of the time referred to the meeting as the most important since 1945, when British prime minister Winston Churchill, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed on a post-war plan for Europe at the Yalta Conference. It was major turning point in East-West relations, and Bush summed it up saying, “We can realize a lasting peace and transform the East-West relationship to one of enduring co-operation. That is the future that Chairman Gorbachev and I began right here in Malta. ” (1989)
Also, 55 years ago today, the sixth album by the Beatles was released—Rubber Soul. With the 14 new songs, the British band expanded their sound using a wide range of instruments. Influences included African-American soul music and the new folk-rock of Bob Dylan. George Harrison’s use of a sitar on “Norwegian Wood” sparked a craze for the Indian instrument that lasted beyond the 60s.
The album greatly influenced Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys who believed it marked the first time in pop music that focus had shifted from just making hit singles to making an actual album. Rubber Soul, which includes Drive My Car, Nowhere man, and Michelle, with its French lyrics and instrumentation, earned the # 5 spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “Greatest Albums of All Time”. (1965)
(WATCH this short video, The Making of Rubber Soul, and buy books or music about it here)
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