Let’s face it: Compiling a list of Jean-Luc Godard’s five best films is an exercise—if not in futility, then in cinematic dread. The New Wave director, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 91, has made more than 70 feature films, documentaries, short films and TV films, at least 20 of which are considered masterpieces by critics, fans and French film buffs. Some Godard enthusiasts think that: everything he made was genius, to the point that any ranking of his body of work will immediately earn its share of haters and snobs.
That said, JLG himself loved to list his top ten movies every year, both when he was a critic on the film Cahiers du cinema and when he became one of the most celebrated film artists. His favorite 1962 film was Howard Hawks’ Hatari!which he preferred to that of François Truffaut Jules and Jim (#4) and his own My life to live (Vivre sa vie) (#6). Chances are, most people remember the last two about the Hawks movie, showing that any list is entirely subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt — or, to name a Godardian staple, an unfiltered Gauloises -cigarette.