We often think of Hollywood as one big happy family. An ever-expanding circle of artists who work together, marry each other, share neighborhoods and attend lavish parties. And while that may sometimes be true, there have always been attractive enclaves in Hollywood feuding and competing. Therein lies the oddity between the legendary filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard And Quentin Tarantino. It was a slow and gradual decline, with Godard being one of Tarantino’s biggest inspirations early in his career, until Godard publicly expressed his disinterest in directing and summed up his up and coming talent as ‘zero’. Some have commented that Hollywood needs to get better at dealing with criticism, and others believe there is a difference between criticism and bitterness. So what makes Godard’s disinterest in Tarantino so decisive? Pulp Fiction the mastermind can’t let go? And if there is, who is the real loser in all of this?

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How Did Jean-Luc Goddard and Quentin Tarantino Get Started in Film?

Brigitte Bargot as Camille Javal and Michel Piccoli as Paul Javal in Humiliation
Image via Marceau-Cocinor

Jean-Luc Godard, born in 1930 in Paris, is renowned as one of the most influential and innovative filmmakers of his time. His style and approach to screen art separated him from a flourishing work centered on classical techniques and Americana. Godard’s films bring a new sense of worldliness, uniqueness and intrigue to the global film industry and especially Hollywood. Arguably, without Godard, the breadth and artistic prowess of our current films and television shows would never have existed. And before 2013, director Quentin Tarantino would have agreed. Born more than thirty years after French filmmakers in Tennessee, USA, Tarantino spent his teenage years developing an interest and talent for screenwriting and eventually made his foray onto the California scene with his breakthrough film. Reservoir dog in 1992, which remains one of his favorite projects today. Growing up in the post-modern era of film, Tarantino became attracted to many filmmakers, including Godard.

Quentin Tarantino has publicly expressed his admiration for the French-Swiss director for years, once stating in an interview for Film Comment in 1994 that Jean-Luc Godard was for films what Bob Dylan was for music – revolutionary. That Once upon a time in Hollywood the director found Godard’s work, like Out of breath, Insult, And Pierrot Le Fou, is a liberating film because of his own commenting and analyzing style. This introspective technique from Godard is something Tarantino worked out for himself, and while the two artists have their own distinct footprints, it’s clear that Godard’s influence on Tarantino provided inspiration in some of his early work. This reverence for Godard even extends to Tarantino’s production company, which was named after Godard’s 1964 film. part band. The praise and positivity Tarantino expressed for Godard was not voted on for a while until Godard decided he would.

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Tarantino vs Godard: Who Said What?

Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Madsen, Edward Bunker, and Lawrence Tierney in Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Live Entertainment, Dog Eat Dog Productions Inc.

The first comment Godard made against Tarantino was in a 2004 interview for Epoca Magazine, in which the director likened Tarantino to a dishonest child and that the director’s work was zero. Such a chill way to describe anyone’s craft, let alone the work of a talented artist who has spent his career supporting and admiring his films. Since then, Tarantino has soured, and that’s understandable. In 2013 Tarantino announced his turnaround when he publicly stated that he “‘isn’t such a big Godard fan anymore. I think Godard is like Frank Franzetta… You start drawing like him, and then you grow bigger. I think that’s what Godard is like to me'”. happened until the mid-20th century, like Godard.

Godard also felt inclined to mock Tarantino for naming his production company after his film, despising this move as Godard saw Bande Part aIt’s one of the worst movies. Shortly after his death in September 2022, actress Molly Ringwald wrote an article for the New Yorker discussing her longtime friendship with Godard, in which more of the French-Swiss director’s disdain for Tarantino came to light. Ringwald wrote that Godard called Pulp Fiction inauthentic around the time of its release and that the two artists had agreed on another, more alternative film at the time suggests greater relevance and value to Tarantino’s work. Pulp Fiction still revered as one of Tarantino’s greatest works and one of the most iconic films of recent decades, a feat that is not easy to achieve. So the disapproval of one like Godard stands out in a sea of ‚Äč‚Äčacceptance and appreciation.

So Why Can’t Tarantino Stop Talking About It?

If you look at this talk between Godard and Tarantino through a telescope, it seems like a pretty big deal. Remove the telescope, and you will find that directors are often like this with each other. Godard and Tarantino have each done their fair share of digs with each other and the various directors and filmmakers around them. Godard famously didn’t care much for the most part courtesy of Martin Scorsese career. In the same vein, Tarantino has struck David Lynch and make comments about Stanley Kubrick And Oliver’s Stone. In all this back and forth of the director’s style commentary and their work, the commentary pouring in from Godard and Tarantino often centers on how the other person’s style is inauthentic, disappointing, or hypocritical. As viewers of these artists, their work, and their opinions, we can ask why Tarantino can’t stop talking about Godard and finally ask why Godard can’t stop talking about Tarantino. Or why Tarantino doesn’t like Kubrick, and why Godard doesn’t like some of Scorsese’s best films, and so on. The rabbit hole will never end.

Perhaps the biggest reason these two directors love talking about one another is the duality between how similar and how different they are. Godard and Tarantino are both unique, revolutionary, and big. Their art stands out, and their careers were built on hard work and dedication to their own style. Godard reached new heights in filmmaking, and since his recent death has given us a lifetime of artistic value to inspire and move. Tarantino continues to make waves and wow his audiences and is arguably one of the best directors Hollywood has.

And on the other hand, both artists have that striking quality that makes them so endearing. The surface-level answer to why Tarantino changed his opinion of Godard is that Tarantino is bitter and embarrassed and that his comments were made out of spite as if Tarantino and Godard were having a fight with schoolboys. However, a more explored response is that directors, artists, and professionals from all industries comment on each other’s work all the time and that competitive criticism like this can be both meaningful and a sign of commitment to the craft. Maybe Godard and Tarantino are just playing around, the way lawyers and doctors do. Except this time they have fans and theorists trying to decode every word. After all, everyone has their own taste, especially the visionaries who brought us Feminine Masculine And Inglorious Basterds.

The winds of change and disparaging comments that brought us to the discourse between Godard and Tarantino give us the understanding that art not only imitates life but also gives rise to competition. Despite the sourness between the two artists, there is still a lot of brilliance left. Hollywood is not kind (spoiler alert), and in the path of success and acclaim comes a platform for passing judgment in front of those who will listen. The two directors have built impressive careers that have inspired millions around the world. The impact of their work on the film industry alone is far-reaching, so it’s no wonder the two artistic powers speak for one another. All in all, Tarantino talks about Godard similarly to how he talks about many of his colleagues, as Godard does, and in the same way so many others do. That’s show business! The lesson learned is this – watch these films and decide for yourself because that’s what Godard and Tarantino did

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