|French New Wave|
|Written by Administrator|
|Friday, 05 October 2007|
The New Wave (French: la Nouvelle Vague) was a blanket term coined by critics for a group of French filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s, influenced (in part) by Italian Neorealism. Although never a formally organized movement, the New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of classical cinematic form and their spirit of youthful iconoclasm. Many also engaged in their work with the social and political upheavals of the era, making their radical experiments with editing, visual style, and narrative part of a general break with the conservative paradigm.
Origins of the Movement
When asked where New Wave began, most will point to a famous film journal named Cahiers du Cinéma. In fact, Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, and others tied closely to the ideas of the movement began as critics for this journal, and used publishing as a lead in to what would soon become a wider attack on the classic ‘literary’ style of French film. French New Wave was “in style” roughly between 1958 and 1964, although popular New Wave work existed as late as 1973. When understanding the basis for New Wave it is vital to recognize the socio-economic forces at play shortly after World War II. A politically and financially drained France tended to fall back to those old traditions which were so popular at the time before war broke out. One such tradition was that of straight narrative cinema, specifically classical French film. The movement has its roots deep in rebellion against this over-reliance on past forms, especially those in which the audience must submit to a dictatorial plot-line derived from old and played-out materials. New Wave critics and directors studied the work of these and other classics. They did not reject them, but rather found a new outlet for the same creative energies. The low-budget approach helped film-makers get at the essential art form and find what, to them, was a much more comfortable and honest form of production. Interestingly, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and many B-film directors were held up in admiration while standard Hollywood films, those bound by traditional narrative flow, were strongly criticized.
The movies featured hitherto unprecedented methods of expression, such as seven-minute tracking shots (like the famous traffic jam sequence in Godard's Le weekend). Also, these movies featured existential themes, such as the stressing of the individual and the acceptance of the absurdity of human existence.
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Major and Minor Figures
|Last Updated ( Friday, 05 October 2007 )|