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Les Cahiers du cinéma: “Formats” by Jean-Luc Godard, June 2004, p. 78

Basically, he’s saying that 1,37 is for human beings, 1,66 represents the credit card, 1,85 is the ratio of the dollar and finally scope (2,39, used to be 2,35) is death. It’s not to be taken as an absolute rule of thumb : Godard was fond of Jules and Jim (Truffaut, 1962) which was shot in Cinemascope (2,35).

[UPDATE–December 5, 2013] I recently became aware of the very thorough discussion David Bordwell once shared on the subject of aspect ratio in the films of Jean-Luc Godard. The entire essay is richly documented and immensely informative. The diagram published in Les Cahiers du Cinéma may have been produced after James Quandt, Senior Programmer at Cinémathèque Ontario, inquired to Bordwell about Godard’s films being projected in the wrong aspect ratio. Read more about it on his blog: “Godard comes in many shapes and sizes” (Dec. 14, 2007).

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