Godard and the Essay Film

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3738-7

E-book – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3739-4

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3737-0
Publication Date
July 2018
Page Count
288 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Godard and the Essay Film

A Form That Thinks
Rick Warner

Godard and the Essay Film offers a history and analysis of the essay film, one of the most significant forms of intellectual filmmaking since the end of World War II. Warner incisively reconsiders the defining traits and legacies of this still-evolving genre through a groundbreaking examination of the vast and formidable oeuvre of Jean-Luc Godard.

The essay film has often been understood by scholars as an eccentric development within documentary, but Warner shows how an essayistic process of thinking can materialize just as potently within narrative fiction films, through self-critical investigations into the aesthetic, political, and philosophical resources of the medium. Studying examples by Godard and other directors, such as Orson Welles, Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, and Harun Farocki, Warner elaborates a fresh account of essayistic reflection that turns on the imaginative, constructive role of the viewer.

Through fine-grained analyses, this book contributes the most nuanced description yet of the relational interface between viewer and screen in the context of the essay film. Shedding new light on Godard’s work, from the 1960s to the 2010s, in film, television, video, and digital stereoscopy, Warner distills an understanding of essayistic cinema as a shared exercise of critical rumination and perceptual discovery.
About the Author

RICK WARNER is an assistant professor of film in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Godard and the Essay Film is a first-rate piece of scholarship that makes substantial contributions on a variety of topics, including the essay as literary and cinematic form, film and philosophy, and the study of the indispensable oeuvre of Jean-Luc Godard.” —Michael Renov, author of The Subject of Documentary 

Godard and the Essay Film is an exceptionally innovative and fresh study that manages to rethink one of the most important and challenging filmmakers in cinema history. In the process, Warner has also engaged one of the most important and prominent waves in modern filmmaking, the essay film. While there is a growing body of scholarship on this subject, Warner’s more focused engagement offers keen new insights that extend beyond Godard’s work.” —Timothy Corrigan, author of The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker