“Godard was to movies what Bob Dylan was to music.” Quentin Tarantino and his complicated adoration for the icon of French cinema

Quentin Tarantino has never been opaque in acknowledging that he has learned and borrowed from many pioneers throughout his career. He himself has cited people like Mario Bava and Sergio Leone as main sources of inspiration. But one of the filmmakers he has talked about the most is Jean-Luc Godard, promoter of the Nouvelle Vague and one of the most influential names in world cinema, who has died at the age of 91

A (false) relationship of teacher and student

“Godard is everything I hope to achieve with my careerSaid Tarantino at the retrospective ‘The Art of Pauline Kael’ at the Berlin festival in 2019. In reference to the analysis of ‘Band apart’ (Bande à part, 1964) in which it was said that the French director managed to extract poetry from American genres such as series B. In an interview after the release of ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994), Tarantino discussed how Godard had an unprecedented impact on the film medium, just as Bob Dylan had done with music.

“That’s one aspect of Godard that I found very liberating: movies commenting on themselves, movies and movie history. For me, Godard did with movies what Bob Dylan did with music: both revolutionized its forms.

All of Quentin Tarantino's movies ranked from worst to best

Such was the American’s devotion that he even named his production company after the iconic ‘Bande à part’, connecting with how it had freed cinema from the tyrannical customs of realism and made it inherently more cinematic. Over time, Tarantino “surpassed Godard” and claimed that love for the French master was like a rite of passage for many cinephiles, but he considers him an inspiring figure for anyone who wanted to make movies because they love cinema:

“Godard is one of those who taught me the fun and freedom and joy of breaking the rules… and just screwing around with the whole medium.”

However, in another interview, Tarantino decided to get rid of his image as a student of Godardstating that he had fallen in love with his cinema as quickly as he had fallen out of love with it:

“I’m not really a big fan of Jean-Luc Godard anymore… Godard is kind of like Frank Frazetta. You fall in love with him for a while and he’s like your hero for a while. You start drawing things like him and then you get over it.” I think that’s what Godard is, at least for me, as a filmmaker.”

Nouvelle Vague: origins and characteristics of the mythical wave of French cinema that revolutionized the seventh art

“I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I just think I’m over it. Godard was so influential to me at the beginning of my aesthetic as a director… It’s like the lack of any kind of cinematographic style, just wanting to make movies for love.”

It is not the first time that Tarantino has demystified icons of French cinema. His opinion of Truffaut as an amateur seemed, in fact, a veiled defense of his other hero of his. doAnd what did Godard say about Tarantino in life? About 2005 he was not very impressed by his influence on the American.

“Tarantino called his production company [Band Apart] as a tribute to one of my films. I would rather he had given me money.”