Thanatos ex Machina

Godard Caresses the Dead
  • David Sterritt


cars and car crashes are running themes in the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard, appearing most notably during the 1960s era that produced several of the classics upon which his reputation primarily rests. His first feature, the 1960 crime romance Breathless, begins with Jean-Paul Belmondo’s anarchic antihero, Michel, stealing a car for a joyride during which he plays pop tunes on the radio, fiddles with a gun he finds in the glove compartment, cheerfully chatters to himself, and breaks the rules of commercial film by talking directly to the camera. His advice to us spectators is direct: We should go fuck ourselves if we don’t appreciate the pleasures of the everyday world as much as he and Godard evidently do.


Implicit Attitude Fire Extinguisher Everyday World Visible Camera Conventional Romance 
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  1. 1.
    Lewis Thomas, “Death in the Open,” in The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (New York: Penguin, 1974), 96.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mikita Brottman 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Sterritt

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