“Bleu, Blanc, Rouge”: a Striking Supercut of the Vivid Colors in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960s Films

What’s your favorite color? A simple question, sure — the very first one many of us learn to ask — but one to consider seriously if you see a future for yourself in filmmaking. Earlier this year, we featured video studies on the use of the color red by Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick. Yasujiro Ozu, as Jonathan Crow points out in that post, “made the jump to color movies very reluctantly late in his career and promptly became obsessed with the color red,” and a teakettle of that color even became his visual signature. No less an auteur than Krzysztof Kieślowski made not just a picture called Red, but another called Blue and another called White, which together form the acclaimed “Three Colors” trilogy.

Jean-Luc Godard, never one to be outdone, has also made vivid use throughout his career of not just red but white and blue as well. The video above, “Bleu, Blanc, Rouge – A Godard Supercut,” compiles three minutes of such colorful moments from the Godard filmography, drawing from his works A Woman Is a WomanContemptPierrot le Fou, and Made in U.S.A., all of which did much to define 1960s world cinema, capturing with their vivid colors performances by Godardian icons Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina.

“Bleu, Blanc, Rouge” comes from Cinema Sem Lei, the source of another aesthetically driven video essay we’ve previously featured on how German Expressionism influenced Tim Burton. This one makes less of an argument than that one did, but truly obsessive cinephiles may still find themselves able to construct one. An obvious starting point: we consider few filmmakers as French as Godard, and which country’s flag has these very colors? Well, besides those of America, Australia, Cambodia, Chile, Cuba, Iceland, North Korea, Luxembourg, Schleswig-Holstein, Thailand, and so on. And in interviews, Godard has distanced himself from pure Frenchness, preferring the designation “Franco-Swiss.” But still, you can start thinking there. Or you can just enjoy the images.

Related Content:

How German Expressionism Influenced Tim Burton: A Video Essay

Wes Anderson Likes the Color Red (and Yellow)

Jean-Luc Godard Gives a Dramatic Reading of Hannah Arendt’s “On the Nature of Totalitarianism”

A Young Jean-Luc Godard Picks the 10 Best American Films Ever Made (1963)

Jean-Luc Godard’s After-Shave Commercial for Schick (1971)

Jean-Luc Godard’s Debut, Opération béton(1955) — a Construction Documentary

Colin Marshall writes elsewhere on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinemaand the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


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