I’m not a huge fan of Godard, but admittedly I haven’t seen everything yet. I can’t deny his importance or his contribution to cinema. If it weren’t for jump cuts, reality television would be screwed. I find him pretentious a lot of the time, but honestly, as an art school grad, pretentiousness is not hard to fall into.
Breathless – This one put him on the map. From what I’ve read, the jump cuts came about when Jean-Pierre Melville suggested Godard cut out some scenes to improve pacing. Instead, Godard cut little bits out during the scene, and thus was created the greatest excuse an editor has to explain continuity errors.
Contempt – A film about movie making starring Fritz Lang as Fritz Lang (who’s making a movie Fritz Lang would never make). With guest star Jack Palance as the slimy Hollywood producer. And super special guest star – Brigitte Bardot‘s ass.
Band of Outsiders (Bande à part) – So far this is my favorite Godard (at least the one I enjoyed the most watching). There was an editing choice I noticed, that I haven’t seen anyone mention (I’m sure someone has, I just haven’t read about it), where he repeats the previous action on a cut in certain scenes. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a mistake, but they come at regular intervals and I began to like them. I’ve tried introducing wacky stuff like that in my editing, and on some occasions have been allowed to get away with it (on one series I worked on I would try so many different things that while onlining my shows the post supervisor and online editor would ask each other “Art or mistake?”).