The Image Book

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The Image Book
Le Livre d'image.png
Film poster
Directed byJean-Luc Godard
Written byJean-Luc Godard
CinematographyFabrice Aragno
Edited byJean-Luc Godard
Fabrice Aragno
Jean-Paul Battaggia
Nicole Brenez
Casa Azul Films
Ecran Noir Productions
Distributed byWild Bunch
Release date
  • 11 May 2018 (2018-05-11) (Cannes)
Running time
85 minutes

The Image Book (French: Le Livre d'image) is a 2018 Swiss avant-garde horror essay film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Initially titled Tentative de bleu and Image et parole,[1] in December 2016 Wild Bunch co-chief Vincent Maraval stated that Godard had been shooting the film for almost two years "in various Arab countries, including Tunisia" and that it is an examination of the modern Arabic world.[2] Godard told Séance magazine that he was shooting without actors but the film would have a storyteller.[3] It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.[4][5][6] Although it did not win the official prize, the jury awarded it the first "Special Palme d'Or" in the festival's history.[7] According to Godard, the film is intended to be shown on TV screens with speakers at a distance, in small spaces rather than in regular cinemas.[8] It was shown in this way during its first run at the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne in November 2018.[9]


In line with the rest of Godard's late-period oeuvre, The Image Book is composed of a series of films, paintings and pieces of music tied together with narration and additional original footage by Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville. Similar to his earlier series Histoire(s) du cinéma, the film examines the history of cinema and its inability to recognise the atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries (specifically the Holocaust and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict), the responsibilities of the filmmaker and the advances in political discourse with the introduction of consumer-grade digital cameras and iPhones.


The film has an 88% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 75 reviews, with an average rating of 7.49/10. The critics’ consensus on it being stated as, “Potentially insurmountable for viewers not attuned to the director's wavelength, The Image Book is typically confounding - and ultimately rewarding - late-period Godard.”[10] It also holds a 76/100 on Metacritic.[11]


  1. ^ "Ciak News 295: cos'è il cinema". RSI Rete Uno (in Italian). Radiotelevisione svizzera. 5 September 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  2. ^ Goodfellow, Melanie (27 December 2016). "New Jean-Luc Godard, Omar Sy films on 2017 Wild Bunch slate". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  3. ^ Derzhitskaya, Antonina; Golotyuk, Dmitry (4 December 2016). "Жан-Люк Годар: "Это уже не цитаты, а археологические остатки"". Séance (in Russian). Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  4. ^ "The 2018 Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  5. ^ Debruge, Peter; Keslassy, Elsa (12 April 2018). "Cannes Lineup Includes New Films From Spike Lee, Jean-Luc Godard". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Le Livre d'Image (Image Book)". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  7. ^ Steve, Pond (19 May 2018). "'Shoplifters' Wins Palme d'Or at 2018 Cannes Film Festival". SF Gate. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  8. ^ Derzhitskaya, Antonina; Golotyuk, Dmitry (9 June 2018). "Jean-Luc Godard: Des mots comme des fourmis". Débordements (in French). Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Le livre d'image, une projection très Godard au théâtre de Vidy" (in French). Swissinfo. 16 November 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  10. ^ The Image Book (Le livre d'image) (2019), retrieved 2019-05-09
  11. ^ The Image Book, retrieved 2019-05-09

External links[edit]