Edito Nov 2013

November 5, 2013 | By French Culture

Just as Marcel Proust transformed literature, Jean-Luc Godard did the same for cinematic storytelling. This fall we find ourselves remembering these two revolutionaries on the occasion of the anniversary of two monumental works: Proust's Swann's Way (1913) and Godard's Contempt (1963).

Jean-Luc Godard is the most emblematic figure of the second half of the cinema’s twentieth century. He is the first filmmaker who made movies about movies, since his works reflect his deep knowledge of art and film history. Through jump-cuts and ellipses, he challenged not only the Hollywood tradition, but also classic French cinema. This narrative revolution inspired numerous directors and theorists.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy will mark the 50th anniversary of Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt, on the occasion of a major retrospective of the director’s work at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Throughout 2014, the celebration will continue in North America, as copies of movies from all the Godard’s periods will be available in various cities including Berkeley, Toronto and Vancouver. You will have the opportunity to widely view his works, and not just the best-known sixties’ feature films, but also the later and remarkable little-known video works. Keep an eye on Frenchculture.org!

When Proust published Swann’s Way on November 14, 1913, he believed it would be forgotten ten years after his death. How humble and mistaken he was! Throughout this year, our tribute to Proust has celebrated the author's enduring impact on literature, the arts and beyond. As the centennial celebration comes to a close, I'm certain all of the events will inspire many to return the author's work.  
But it's not over yet! Through the end of November, we are thrilled to join French and American Proust fans across the US to commemorate this major international cultural turning point. In New York, the  2013: A Year with Proust Centennial Celebration  (link) concludes with two feature events: a Nomadic Reading of the entirety of Swann’s Way, over seven nights in seven locations and Proust inspires Fiction!, a series of roundtable discussions that will gather some of the best contemporary French and American authors whose work has been influenced by Proust. 

For Proust fans from New England to the Midwest or the West Coast there's sure to be a Proust event nearby. 

Proust and his peers changed the course of literature and Godard and the Nouvelle Vague did just that for cinema. In tribute to the continued inspiration that these two figures have brought to our cultural landscape, we are delighted to host a blog series dedicated to reflections, memories and anecdotes inspired by their work and shared by authors, filmmakers, critics, students and fans of all kinds: Proust & Me and Godard & Me.

Just as Proust still fascinates, Godard continues to attract new filmmakers. I hope these great artists will inspire and provoke imagination among us all for years to come!

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