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September 15, 2022 1:03 pm

Top French Jewish Actor Says He Can’t Mourn ‘Antisemitic’ Movie Director Jean-Luc Godard

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

The late film director Jean-Luc Godard is seen at a film festival in Zurich in 2010. Photo: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

One of France’s top actors has confessed that he is unable to mourn Jean-Luc Godard, the pathbreaking Franco-Swiss film director who died on Tuesday, citing the cineaste’s bombastic comments about Jews and the State of Israel as the reason.

“I can’t admire Jean-Luc Godard, I can’t admire someone who hates Jews so much,” said actor Gérard Darmon in an interview with French broadcaster BFMTV on Thursday.

The son of Algerian Jews, Darmon has appeared in numerous films since the 1970s, working with leading directors such as Jean-Jacques Beineix, Neil Jordan and Élie Chouraqui. He asserted that Godard — arguably the most influential filmmaker of the post-war period in France who launched the “New Wave” movement in the 1960s — “was not very benevolent towards my community, for the Jews in general and for Israel in particular.”

Long associated with the far left, Godard was an enthusiastic supporter of the Palestinian national cause and was given to condemning Israel in antisemitic terms, frequently invoking the Holocaust as a stick with which to critique the Jewish state. He once told his biographer, Alain Fleischer, that the suicide bombings undertaken by Palestinian terrorists “resemble what the Jews did, by letting themselves be driven like sheep and exterminated in the gas chambers, in order to bring about the existence of a Palestinian state.”

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In his later years, Godard became a supporter of the campaign to subject Israel to a regime of “boycotts, divestment and sanctions” (BDS), advocating a boycott of the 2018 France-Israel film festival.

Godard — whose numerous titles included the classic A bout de souffle (“Breathless”) of 1960 as well as Pierrot le Fou in 1965 — journeyed to the Middle East in the 1970s to make a documentary about the Palestinian struggle. The result,  Ici et Ailleurs (“Here and Elsewhere”), released in 1976, compared the former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir with Adolf Hitler and was widely denounced as antisemitic. A further film focused on the Palestinians, 2004’s Notre Musique (“Our Music”), was described by the Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman as “obscene and antisemitic.”

Darmon said he found himself unable to watch Godard’s films, just as “I will never read Céline (One of France’s leading modern poets and novelist who was notoriously antisemitic) or marvel at Hitler’s paintings.”

He added: “Rest in his soul, but he’s not someone I appreciate or love. That’s all I have to say about him.”


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