MEMORABLE INTERVIEWS: Dick Cavett and Jean-Luc Godard (1980)


MEMORABLE INTERVIEWS: Dick Cavett and Jean-Luc Godard (1980)
by Darius Kadivar

Dick Cavett's interview with Godard from two 1980 episodes of The DickCavett Show. Godard received an honorary Oscar last month amidst controversy over his politics judged as Pro Palestinian and Anti Semitic.

( Read : Jean-Luc Godard and his honorary Oscar: Does it matter if he's an anti-Semite? ) 

The controversy made Godard Snub the Ceremony and did not go to Fetch the prestigious award which rightly prompted debate over his unfair treatment in Hollywood circles unable to distinguish between an Artist work and his personal life and opinions.

An attitude which contrasts greatly with the way the iconic French director was received back in the 1980's in America as was the case on the memorable Dick Cavett Show. 


Though Godard is generally quite difficult and argumentativein interviews, he comes across as surprisingly relaxed here. This was DickCavett's great strength as an interviewer: he put guarded people at ease. He'sa bit quick to poke fun at Godard's more peculiar ideas, but his respect forGodard still shines through. His most celebrated period as a film maker is roughly from his first feature, Breathless (1960), through to Week End (1967) focused on relatively conventional works that often refer to different aspects of film history. This cinematic period stands in contrast to the revolutionary period that immediately followed it, during which Godard ideologically denounced much of cinema’s history as "bourgeois" and therefore without merit. An attitude which often wrongly type casted him as provocative and unpredictable in the eyes of the audience and film critics in general. But Godard remains a reference and icon to many International film directors including many Hollywood greats ranging from Martin Scorsese to Steven Spielberg to name a few.


The Dick Cavett Show (1980)

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Part IV:

Part V:


Part VI:



A Funny  Outlook on French New Wave Cinema 




Monty Python's spoof of the French new wave cinema with Terry Jones:







Godard's Original "About De Souffle" Starring Jean Seberg and Jean Paul Belmondo:

50th Anniversary English Release of About Souffle aka Breathless:

The Hollywood Remake directed by Jim McBride with Richard Gere and Valérie Kaprisky:




Recommended Readings:

Iranian Pioneers in French New Wave Cinema by Darius KADIVAR


Debate Grows Over Honorary Oscar for Director Godard

Jean-Luc Godard and his honorary Oscar: Does it matter if he's an anti-Semite?



Related Blogs:

MEMORABLE INTERVIEWS: Richard Burton on The Dick Cavett Show (July 1980)


AMBASSADOR OF LAUGHTER: An Audience with Peter Ustinov


LE GRAND CLAUDE (1930- 2010) : Claude Chabrol and Fereidoune Hoveyda - Tribute


POLANSKI - REZA: Roman Polanski’s ‘God of Carnage’ 



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Darius Kadivar

Your Welcome jasonrobardas Jaan

by Darius Kadivar on

Indeed Cavett is one of the best in his field. Too bad he is retired today. He would have done a better job than Larry King any day !

I've never been an unconditional fan of Godard's Movies but I have always found Godard as a film critic extremely pertinent and his insights on Cinema and Life in general very thought provoking.

Even if in retrospect it appears a little didactic. Breathless is what truly revolutionized Cinema especially in terms of editing and plot construction.

But What I find fascinating about Godard is the fact that much of what he experimented at the time on film have found their way into the Multi Media world. In many ways he predicted non linear editing as used extensively today some 50 years ago which proves to what degree Breathless was a groundbreaking film.

My favorite Godard film however is Le Mépris with Bardot, Fritz Lang, Jack Palance and Michel Piccoli.

He proves to anyone who could doubt of his directorial capacities that he was capable of filming Classicism better than anyone and in addition create a modern Myth:

His comments on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and Hollywood's Political Correct Reaction to Vanessa Redgrave's portrayal of a Holocaust Survivor knowing her Pro Palestinian Stance is also strikingly in resonance with today's pre occupations and dilemmas in regard to this situation. Except that he said this 30 years ago.

Amazing Interview indeed.



Darius Kadivar

by jasonrobardas on

   Thanks for posting these lovely interviews by Dick Cavett . He is truly the ultimate talk show host .By far , one of  the most intelligent ones,  I have ever seen . He is the master of enunciation  .  In my early youth , I used to watch his shows with fascination .

   In those days , Iranian kids active in ( Cinemaye Azade iran )  , made short 8 mm movies and dreamed of becoming another Godard .

   By the way , I am glad smoking in front of the camera is not permitted any more .