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Jean-Luc Godard: An Honest Man and a Philhellene

By Eva Angelinos

Jean-Luc Godard, one of the greatest living directors and one of the founders of the French cinematic movement called Nouvelle Vague or, French New Wave, was absent from the 63rd Cannes Film Festival.
Godard stated that he would not attend the festival due to the fact that “issues such as the current financial state of Greece do not permit me to join you in Cannes.” A few days prior to this statement of his, Godard had also stated that “today the whole world owes money to Greece”, thus expressing his support to Greece and the Greek people, as well as his philhellenic feelings.
Godard’s Film Socialisme, his latest film, was screened in Cannes Film Festival as part of the Un Certain Regard section. In the film there is a reference to the financial crisis Greece is experiencing at the moment and the challenges the Greeks are faced with.
Jean-Luc Godard refused to attend the festival at the last minute, informing Thierry Frémaux, director of the festival, at a rather short notice. During one of his interviews, given to a French journalist for the magazine Les Ιnrockuptibles,
Godard said about Greece, “We should be thankful to Greece. It is the West that owes to Greece. Philosophy, democracy, tragedy…We tend to forget the connection between tragedy and democracy. Without Sophocles, there would not be Pericles. Without Pericles, there would not be Sophocles. The technologically advanced world we live in owes everything to Greece. Who discovered logic? Aristotle. A claims B. A has a positive characteristic, therefore B is true. Since Aristotle said it, it must be true. Logic. It’s what the sovereign powers fight against all day ensuring that we all function according to a certain way of thinking.”
Godard continued saying that “Greece should demand millions and millions from every country for the copyright of the work of the classical philosophers. It would be absolutely reasonable to receive this money. Instantly. Also, Greeks are accused of being liars. That reminds me of a deductive reasoning we were taught at school: Epaminondas is a liar and since all Greeks are liars, Epaminondas is a Greek. We haven’t advanced much since then.”
Film Socialisme was released in France on the 19th of May, after its official premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on the 17th. The film will be premiering in the French speaking region of Switzerland on the 26th of May.

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