As a charter member of the Nouvelle Vague, Jean-Luc Godard was also arguably the most influential French filmmaker of the postwar era. Beginning with his groundbreaking 1959 feature debut A Bout de Souffle, Godard revolutionized the motion picture form, freeing the medium from the shackles of its long-accepted cinematic language by rewriting the rules of narrative, continuity, sound, and camera work. Later in his career, he also challenged the common means of feature production, distribution, and exhibition, all in an effort to subvert the conventions of the Hollywood formula to create a new kind of film.
Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children. After receiving his primary education in Nyon, Switzerland, he studied ethnology at the Sorbonne, but spent the vast majority of his days at the Cine-Club du Quartier Latin, where he first met fellow film fanatics Francois Truffaut and Jacques Rivette. In May 1950, the three men united to publish La Gazette du Cinema, a monthly film journal which ran through November of the same year; here Godard printed his first critical pieces, which appeared both under his own name and under the pseudonym Hans Lucas. With Rivette's 1950 short feature Quadrille, Godard made his acting debut, also appearing in Eric Rohmer's Presentation ou Charlotte et son Steack the following year.