Necessity or contingency
Godard as film critic, 1950–59
in Jean-Luc Godard
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Little is known about Jean-Luc Godard's early life and, although the first authoritative biography of the director was published very recently, the details of his youth remain somewhat sketchy. Godard began to study anthropology at the Sorbonne, but dropped out, and the subsequent decade of his life was spent drifting between various occupations. Along with other critics at Cahiers du cinéma, Godard's writing on film in the 1950s played an important role in shaping the canon of great film directors that would influence the development of both French and anglophone film studies. The questionable nature of some of the tales surrounding the director's youth is reflected in Godard's own admission that he amused himself by making up stories which would subsequently be reported as true in the press. Godard was a particularly sensitive commentator on the new American cinema, two of his finest articles being devoted to Hitchcock.

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