“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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