Killing Me Softly? An Examination in the Depiction of Violence in the Early Films of Jean-Luc Godard (1960-1967)

We all love a short title...
Now including a bonus essay on themes of sentimentality and globalisation in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 2001 film, Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain. 

Jean-Luc Godard's early films - up to the pivotal Weekend (1967) were determined to prove the adage that all you need to make a movie is "a girl and a gun". Whether in crime thrillers like the era-defining A Bout de Souffle (1960) or philosophical science-fiction masterworks like Alphaville (1965), the Nouvelle Vague auteur alternated between romance, philosophy, and action. 

The violent acts that appear in Godard's early films seem 'muted' in some way, however, prompting this exhaustive study of the director's techniques for depicting violence. Gunshots and car crashes happen off-screen, bottles are smashed silently on victims' skulls, and fistfights are played for comic effect. 

This book explores three possible explanations for Godard's singular approach to the depiction of violence. 

Working with close reference to classic films including A Bout de Souffle, Vivre Sa Vie, Alphaville, Pierrot le Fou, Weekend and Le Mépris, Killing me Softly is a challenging academic study of the early work of one of the world's greatest living directors.

Many years ago, I studied French at the University of Birmingham, and got into Jean-Luc Godard's cinema in a very intense undergraduate sort of way. I noticed a couple of things that maybe critics hadn't picked up in a few of his films, and the next thing I knew I was writing an MPhil proposal.

My thesis was first published through Lulu in 2004, where it sold maybe half a dozen copies. It was republished on Kindle in 2013, with a full relaunch and paperback edition following in 2015. For reasons of getting a decent number of pages in the paperback, the relaunched version also contains an extra essay, also taken from my MPhil year.

This book is more widely available than my others, so while I'll include the inevitable Amazon link here, it's also listed on iBooks, Kobo and all other major e-book retailers.

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