A Farewell Finale: The Race to Finish Godard’s Last Project

Jean-Luc Godard Final Project (Arte France Cinéma)

Jean-Luc Godard, the renowned Swiss-French film director, had a final wish before his passing on September 13, 2022. He needed a quote from Jean-Paul Sartre to complete his film, Scénarios, but the book was nowhere to be found. With only days left before his assisted suicide, Godard’s longtime collaborator, Fabrice Aragno, embarked on a frantic search to find the book.

Aragno’s quest took him to libraries and bookshops in Lausanne and Paris, finally securing the needed text via email. This poignant scene reflects Godard’s unwavering dedication to his craft, even in the face of mortality.

Scénarios, Godard’s final film, is a testament to his innovative spirit and fascination with semiotics, text, and images. The 18-minute film collage features clips from old movies, newsreel footage, and an MRI scan soundtrack, all woven together to create a mesmerizing abstract work.

Godard’s Last Movie as a Director Before His Death (Arte France Cinéma)

Godard’s family described him as “exhausted” rather than ill, but his body was weakening. Mitra Farahani, an Iranian filmmaker and friend of Godard, notes that he kept a journal of his hospital visits, intertwining his physical struggles with his work.

Aragno and Farahani curated and edited Scénarios after Godard’s passing, premiering it at Cannes. The film is a fitting tribute to Godard’s legacy, showcasing his playful exercises in film language and his ability to find beauty in mystery.

Aragno reflects on Godard’s influence, likening him to a forest, with each branch leading to new ideas and references. The Jean-Luc Godard Foundation, established by Aragno, will provide a space for young artists to explore and continue Godard’s work, ensuring his creative spirit endures.