We often think of Hollywood as one big happy family. An ever-expanding circle of artists who work together, marry each other, live in the same neighborhood and attend lavish parties. And while sometimes that’s true, there are always juicy pockets of Hollywood that feud and compete. Therein lies the strange economy between legendary filmmakers. Jean-Luc Godard And Quentin Tarantino. It was a slow and gradual descent and Godard was one of Tarantino’s biggest inspirations in his early career until Godard publicly declared his disinterest in directing and described the promising talent as “nil”. Some point out that Hollywood needs to handle criticism better, while others feel there is a difference between criticism and bitterness. So what made Godard Tarantino’s disinterest so decisive that Pulp Fiction mastermind can’t let go? And if anyone, then who is the real loser in all this?
How did Jean-Luc Goddard and Quentin Tarantino start their film careers?
Jean-Luc Godard, born in 1930 in Paris, was known as one of the most influential and innovative directors of his time. His style and approach to screen art separated him from a growing body of work based on classical techniques and Americana. Godard’s films brought a new sense of worldliness, quirkiness and intrigue to the global film industry and Hollywood in particular. Perhaps without Godard there would never have been such an artistic and large-scale scope of our current films and television shows. And until 2013, director Quentin Tarantino would agree. Tarantino was born more than thirty years after the French filmmaker in Tennessee, USA. As a teenager, Tarantino developed his interest and talent as a screenwriter and eventually burst onto the California scene with his breakthrough film. Mad Dogs in 1992, which is still one of his favorite projects to this day. Growing up in the era of postmodern cinema, Tarantino interested many directors, including Godard.
Quentin Tarantino has openly expressed his admiration for the French-Swiss director for years, once stating in an interview with Film Comment in 1994 that Jean-Luc Godard was to cinema what Bob Dylan was to music, a revolutionary. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood the director found works by Godard such as lifeless, Contempt, And Piero Le Fou liberating films because style commented and analyzed itself. This introspective Godard technique is something Tarantino crafted for himself, and while the two artists had their own marks, it’s clear that Godard’s influence on Tarantino breathed a sense of inspiration into some of his early work. This respect for Godard even extended to Tarantino’s production company, which he named after Godard’s 1964 film. Divide a part. The praise and positivity that Tarantino expressed to Godard went unnoticed for a while until Godard decided to choose.
Tarantino vs. Godard: who said what?
The first comment made by Godard Tarantino was in a 2004 interview with Epoca Magazine, in which the director compared Tarantino to a dishonest child and called the director’s job empty. A chilly way to describe anyone’s craft, let alone the work of a talented artist who has supported and adored his films throughout his career. From that moment on, Tarantino began to deteriorate, and this is understandable. In 2013, Tarantino publicly announced his turn when he openly stated that he “wasn’t really a big fan of Godard anymore. Frank Franzetta… You start drawing like him, and then you outgrow it. I think that was Godard for me.” This comment contrasts sharply with Tarantino’s previous beliefs in praise when he uses the metaphor of classic comic book artist Franzetta to calmly comment that Godard’s career is outdated and Franzetta’s is outdated. took place in the middle of the 20th century, like Godard.
Godard was also prone to ridicule Tarantino for naming his production company after his film, humiliating the move because Godard was watching Group Part Aone of his worst films. Shortly after his passing in September 2022, actress Molly Ringwald wrote an op-ed for the New Yorker discussing her longtime friendship with Godard, revealing more of the French-Swiss director’s contempt for Tarantino. Ringwald wrote that Godard called Pulp Fiction was not genuine at the time of its release, and that the two artists agreed that other more alternative films at the time were of greater relevance and value compared to Tarantino’s work. Pulp Fiction is still revered as one of Tarantino’s finest works and as one of the most iconic films of the last few decades, a feat not easily achieved. Thus, the disapproval of a man like Godard stands out in a sea of recognition and awards.
So why can’t Tarantino stop talking about it?
If you were to look at this conversation between Godard and Tarantino through a telescope, it might seem like a pretty big deal. Remove the telescope and you’ll find directors often do this to each other. Godard and Tarantino brought their share of criticism to each other and to the directors and directors around them. It is known that Godard did not care too much about the majority Martin Scorsese career. In the same vein, Tarantino attacked David Lynch and commented Stanley Kubrick And Oliver Stone. In all these style commentaries of directors and their work, the stream of commentary from Godard and Tarantino often focuses on how inauthentic, unimpressive, or hypocritical the other’s styles are. As an audience of these artists, their work and their opinions, we might ask why Tarantino couldn’t stop talking about Godard, and finally ask why Godard couldn’t stop talking about Tarantino. Or why Tarantino doesn’t like Kubrick, why Godard doesn’t like some of Scorsese’s best films, and so on. The rabbit hole will be endless.
Perhaps the main reason the two directors liked to talk about each other was the ambivalence between how similar they are and how different they are. Both Godard and Tarantino were unique, revolutionary and great. Their art stands out and their careers have been built on hard work and dedication to their own style. Godard has reached new heights in filmmaking, and with his recent passing, we have a lifetime of works of art to inspire and move forward with. Tarantino continues to amaze audiences and is arguably one of the best directors in Hollywood.
On the other hand, these two artists had strong qualities that made them so charming. A superficial response to why Tarantino changed his mind about Godard would be that Tarantino was bitter and embarrassed, and that his comments were made out of spite, as if Tarantino and Godard were arguing with schoolchildren. However, a more thoughtful response would be that directors, artists, and professionals from all industries are constantly commenting on each other’s work, and that such competitive criticism can be both rude and a sign of commitment to the craft. Maybe Godard and Tarantino were just playing a game, like lawyers and doctors do. Except for this time, they had fans and theorists trying to decipher every word. After all, everyone has their own tastes, especially the seers who brought us Male Female And IInglourious Basterds.
The winds of change and disparaging comments that brought us the discourse of Godard and Tarantino leave us with the understanding that art not only imitates life, but also creates competition. Despite the sourness between the two artists, there remains a lot of brilliance. Hollywood isn’t kind (spoiler alert), and along the way to success and accolades comes a platform to pass judgment on to those who are willing to listen. Both directors have built impressive careers and inspired millions of people around the world. Their work only had a huge impact on the film industry, so it’s not surprising that the two art centers had a lot of feedback on each other. In general, Tarantino spoke of Godard in the same way that he speaks of many of his peers, in the same way as Godard, and in the same way as many others. This is show business! The lesson is: watch these films and decide for yourself, because that’s exactly what Godard and Tarantino did.
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