Bruno Nuytten on working with Jean-Luc Godard
This is a tidbit from cinematographer/director Bruno Nuytten concerning Jean-Luc Godard whose film Detective, Nuytten had DP’ed.
from Four Perspectives on French Cinema by Sheila Steeples & Allen Katona
Film Quarterly Volume 49 No. 4 Summer 1996 (page 5)
The complete article is available on-line if you subscribe to JSTOR or can find a library that offers access to that service.
“Working with him [in 1985, on Detective] was a great trial, so great that it completely washed me out. It was a violent meeting, with Godard both bringing me into the project and rejecting me. He reigned on the set with enormous authority and didn’t want anyone to be reassured. He publicly used me and broke me on the set, but since the experience was close to a certain purity in film-making. I decided not to react. It upset him and forced him to take a more violent attitude toward me. It must be added that all the crew and the actors who worked with Godard in the 1980s were terrified by the myth surrounding Jean-Luc Godard; they put him on a pedestal, and this really irritated him. I doubtless made the same mistake, by having this attitude of looking up to him. I tried to handle the shoot well, which is what he reproached me for. The fact that I accepted the situation such as he had created it, meaning conflicted, made him almost nasty, since that is not what he wanted.
Godard was at this time, and still is today, seeking a visual form for his films that is as minimalist as possible. When you watch a Godard film, this is its primary interest. This is for me the great art of Godard’s modern films: minimal technique to achieve an extreme wealth of intellectual possibilities.“