Have you seen Don McKellar?

Jean-Luc Godard Retrospective at TIFF


While the rest of the movie-going public are likely scrambling to catch up on Oscar-nominated films ahead of the March telecast, savvy Torontonians should gear for a refreshing and significant retrospective at TIFF.

Well, maybe there are still some award-winning films to catch up on, but for the next three weeks, TIFF Bell Lightbox will putting on a decidedly different yet important showcase of a master craft director. An exploration of the work of famed French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard begins today at Lightbox, with the first of this expansive undertaking running now through February 23.

The prolific New Wave artist, who turned 83 last December, has been both influential and innovative, and TIFF is offering 17 of his feature films in addition to 11 shorts created from 1954-1967 as a way to start to scratch the surface. It is a series for both the savant and the neophyte, as daring and unforgettable films have been culled for presentation and revisiting.

Part 2 of this retrospective is slated for the fall, and Godard himself is still working, with a new 3D film set for the Cannes Festival this Spring. In the meantime, check out Godard Forever: Part 1 at TIFF Bell LIghtbox, and you can take a look as some of our top picks of this comprehensive look.


While this opening night film is already sold out, an encore presentation takes place next week, and it’s not to be missed. Breathless is Godard’s groundbreaking debut feature, a stylish and formulaically innovative film about a French crook and his scathing American girlfriend on the run. A most critically-acclaimed and celebrated film in its time and to this day, Breathless is not only revolutionary in its structure, but features an iconic closing scene.

Thursday January 23 – 6:30

Tuesday January 28 – 6:30

Masculin Feminin

This politically and culturally-infused non-linear story of 1966 contains the telling yet curious (and self-reflexive) line, “This film could be called ‘The Children of Marx and Coca-Cola.’” Smart and savvy, if not complex, this Godard triumph follows the distresses of a young man recently out of the army, combating feelings, loyalties, and ever-changing political tides.

Thursday February 6 – 6:30


Contempt is a film about making a film, a topic Godard often explored, dissected, and mourned. Michel Piccoli is a scriptwriter, Jack Palance is an American producer, and Brigitte Bardot is the writer’s lonely, lost wife. It is a condemnation on the compromises made to appease the powers-that-be in; a film that is still important today as art fights that which is commercial. Fritz Lang also stars as himself, as he tries to direct an adaption of Homer’s Odyssey that continues to change and prove most difficult.

Friday January 31 – 6:30

Tuesday February 4 – 6:30

Un femme est une femme (A Woman is a Woman)

The first film Godard shot in color, A Woman is a Woman follows an exotic dancer in this mostly comic, slightly dark, musical escapade. Anna Karina is Angela, a stripper who wishes to have a baby with her lover, but when he isn’t ready to commit, she seeks a father elsewhere. Sex, prostitution, and winking jokes are rampant in this enjoyable send up; a masterful film that even while on the surface is fun and light, has some darker, meaningful undertones.

Saturday January 25 – 4:45


For more information, visit TIFF online.

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.