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Film Director Jean-Luc Godard Dies by Assisted Suicide

    Film Director Jean-Luc Godard Dies by Assisted Suicide
    Last updated: 2 months ago
    Image credit: Associated Press [via NBC News]

    Facts

    • French-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard died at age 91, French Pres. Emmanuel Macron confirmed on Tues. while mourning his death on Twitter. [1]
    • Before the official statement, French media was already reporting that Godard died "peacefully at home" in Switzerland with his wife Anne-Marie Mieville next to him. [2]
    • Patrick Jeanneret, his longtime lawyer, announced later that he died by assisted suicide - a legal and regulated practice in Switzerland - pointing out that the film director decided to follow this path as he had been suffering from “multiple disabling pathologies." [3]
    • His debut movie, "Breathless" ("À Bout de Souffle"), catapulted him into fame and made Godard a symbol of the French New Wave movement, which focused on realism and experimentation. [4]
    • During his lifetime, Godard had one of his films - "Hail Mary" - denounced by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and was accused of antisemitism due to his advocacy for the Palestinian cause. Godard received an honorary Oscar in 2010 for his contribution to film. [5]
    • The announcement of Godard's death comes as Macron also on Tues. made good on his reelection campaign promise and announced a national debate on end-of-life options that could include legalizing assisted suicide in France. [6]
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    Spin

    Narrative A

    Godard was a cultural icon, and his dignified assisted suicide resonates with the majority of the French population who support this end-of-life option. Sadly, the elderly and the sick can't counter the clout of the power of medical, pharmaceutical, and nursing home lobbies that oppose the measure. Citizens are entitled to live with dignity, and they must be also allowed to die with it.

    Conservative narrative

    There is a misleading premise: the fact that 96% of the French people support the so-called "right to freely choose the end of life" is based on a false dichotomy between death and physical suffering. Transitioning to death now includes advances in care and medicine that can reduce or eliminate physical pain. Assisted suicide is not an ethical choice, especially considering these innovations.

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