Jean-Luc Godard chose to end life through assisted dying, lawyer confirms

“He could not live like you and me, so he decided with a great lucidity, as he had all his life, to say, ‘Now, it’s enough’”

Jean-Luc Godard chose to end his life through assisted suicide, his lawyers have confirmed.

The pioneering film director, dubbed the godfather of France’s New Wave cinema, passed away on Tuesday (September 13) at the age of 91.

Now, his long-time legal adviser, Patrick Jeanneret, has confirmed that the director died by assisted suicide, having suffered from “multiple disabling pathologies”.

“He could not live like you and me, so he decided with a great lucidity, as he had all his life, to say, ‘Now, it’s enough,’” Jeanneret told The New York Times, noting that assisted suicide is both legal and tightly regulated in Switzerland.

He went on to explain that Godard wanted to die with dignity, and “that was exactly what he did”.

The Franco-Swiss director was known for movies such as Breathless (1960) and Contempt (1963), which pushed cinematic boundaries.

His films showcased handheld camera work, jump cuts and existential dialogue that revolutionised French cinema and filmmaking in the 1960s.

Jean-Luc Godard. Credit: Getty Images

Also known for his witticisms, Godard famously once observed that “a film consists of a beginning, a middle and an end, though not necessarily in that order.”

Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs director Quentin Tarantino was said to be heavily influenced by the late filmmaker, having been initiated by Godard and his Paris-based contemporaries.

Other filmmakers have since taken to social media to pay tribute to Godard, with Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver) recently describing him as “one of the most influential, iconoclastic film-makers of them all”.

“It was ironic that he himself revered the Hollywood studio film-making system, as perhaps no other director inspired as many people to just pick up a camera and start shooting,” he wrote.

Director Asif Kapadia, who has helmed films and documentaries including Senna, Amy and Diego Maradona, also paid tribute to the late filmmaker, simply writing: “The King is Dead.”

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