THURSDAY

The most brilliant, influential, and ornery of French New Wave directors (although he’s technically Swiss), Jean-Luc Godard has long been discounted by film critics and audiences alike. Yet he has never lacked for disciples, from Quentin Tarantino (who named his production company after a Godard film) to Sofia Coppola (who invoked him at the Oscars). Of the filmmaker’s followers, few have done him better service than Colin MacCabe. The British Film Institute veteran, who now teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, hasn’t merely written appreciatively of Godard; he also commissioned work by the filmmaker for Britain’s Channel 4. Despite this collaboration, MacCabe is no swooning devotee. His excellent new biography, Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy, rates the director highly, but it also frankly acknowledges the weaknesses of his often hermetic recent films. When MacCabe credits Godard as “the greatest essayist and one of the greatest poets that the cinema has known,” he is being entirely clear-eyed. In “Jean-Luc Godard, the Man who Revolutionized Film: An Intimate Portrait,” which includes clips from Godard’s films, MacCabe will discuss the director’s work and life. Among the latter, the biographer can offer such fascinating episodes as the plight of a 9-year-old Godard, who was visiting his grandparents in Paris when the city fell to the Germans; his improbable stint as 20th Century Fox’s French publicist; and of course his tumultuous, poignant relationship with Anna Karina, whose desire for a child became first comedy (in A Woman Is a Woman) and then tragedy (in real life). MacCabe speaks at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 15, at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. $15. (202) 357-3030. (Mark Jenkins)

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