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Is Jean Luc Godard the greatest filmmaker of all time?
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The ability to appreciate Godard is one which is acquired and cultivated

Godard’s films are open to multiple interpretations which may be based on individual circumstantial realities. These realities are an accumulation of experiences not just of the formative years but also those gathered throughout life.
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The Argument

There exists a never-ending debate in psychology on the extent of influence exerted by nature and nurture on the development of an individual’s personality. While the former refers to the inherent traits of a person, the latter is what can be learned through parenting, experience and the environment at large. Habits, likes and dislikes formed during childhood more often than not tend to continue into adulthood and colour one’s decisions and choices[1]. Though Jean-Luc Godard utilizes modern filmmaking techniques, like jump-cuts and shadow lighting, his films as a whole tend to lean towards the classical genre in order to cater to the older generation capable of looking beyond the sensationalism of the film and analyze the hidden socio-political issues brought out within it. As a result, those individuals who have been exposed to different genres of film and music and have been taught to appreciate them since childhood, for the time, age and context within which they have been released, will truly enjoy a Godard film. While it is true that some individuals are born with the inherent prodigious quality of appreciating the classics, more often than not it is their upbringing that develops the preference within them.

Counter arguments

While people do have an affinity and inclination towards certain things because they were exposed to them in their formative years, it would not be wrong to say that humans are moldable much like clay. Their personalities, likes and dislikes are conditioned to adapt to the circumstances they are in. And while it is also widely accepted that the ability to learn decreases as we age it never ceases. The beauty of art lies not just in its freedom of expression but also in its freedom of interpretation and Godard’s films stand true in this test as well. In fact, his use of modern techniques and unconventional methods of filmmaking to provide his audience with an immersive and contemplative experience left room for multiple interpretations so that people can come face to face with the reality he was trying to unmask. Critical appreciation of art is based on an understanding of it which is an amalgamation of both the personal and the intellectual, and the inherent and the acquired.



[P1] - Nature and nurture both influence an individual's personality. [P2] - Individuals exposed to classics from childhood will appreciate and prefer Godard's films.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] - The ability to learn is lifelong and an individual can learn to like Godard's films even in his adulthood.


This page was last edited on Saturday, 13 Jun 2020 at 18:03 UTC