The French New Wave, or Nouvelle Vague, was a cinematic movement in France that incorporated many different schools and styles of film making. It is typically associated with the films of former editors from the magazine, Cahiers Du Cinema, and intellectual film makers from Paris' Left Bank.
Between 1958 & 1967 many "new wave" and "new cinema" movements appeared. In Brazil, Japan, Italy, Germany (slightly later), British "kitchen sink" cinema, as well as throughout Eastern Europe, in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Hungary. These films were very youth-oriented, with young directors and young target audiences, and were consequently sometimes referred to as "Young Cinema".
These new waves were often in stark contrast to the styles of filmmaking which had come before them. These "classic" films were cast in a negative light, with some young film-makers calling them "Papa's Cinema". François Truffaut was particularly passionate about the subject, attacking the old way of filmmaking as un-cinematic and claiming that their creators did not understand the true potential of film.
The rise of New Cinema paralleled development of a growing youth culture within many countries; youth with more spending money, and a more independent spirit from their family. Young generations of the 1960s saw themselves as a radical break from the past and spurred rebellion against their parents' generation. This gave rise to anti-establishment and counter-cultural attitudes, political involvement (anti-Vietnam War), sexual liberation, new styles of music (rock-n-roll), fashion (mini-skirts), and, of course, films.
Another contributing factor to the New Wave of cinema was related to a radical shift in the way the public consumed their films. Film attendance began declining rapidly after World War II. Many new forms of entertainment became available, and the countries who had profited from the war found a population with more disposable income than ever before. Film producers began increasingly to target films to young urban and suburban audiences, a trend which has continued to modern times.
The New Wave meant all-new content as well as a whole new, independent style, which pulled away from old studio formulas. These films often went out of their way to break many rules of traditional cinema that had been established up until that point. Youth culture helped spread this new film culture internationally.
The French New Wave is one of the most well-known and influential of these New Wave movements.
Breaking old rules of narrative, style, and editing, these films featured stories that were often more episodic than they were a traditional three-act structure. Spontaneity and a certain realism was emphasized; actions and events happen unexpectedly. Jean-Luc Godard did things on screen designed to intentionally keep the audience from getting sucked in, causing them to be aware of the film as they were watching it, and to think about it.
Despite their often less-than-favourable views of past film styles, the New Wave filmmakers knew their cinema history. They drew inspiration from many films from the past, especially Neorealism films, long take films, and montage style films. New Cinema was enabled largely by an influx of lightweight cameras and new equipment which allowed much greater flexibility at a lower cost.
|1969||Pierrot le fou|
|1964||Band of Outsiders|
|1963||Le Petit Soldat|
|1962||Vivre sa vie|
|1962||Shoot the Piano Player|
|1962||Last Year at Marienbad|
|1962||Jules and Jim|
|1961||A Woman Is a Woman|
|1960||Hiroshima Mon Amour|
|1959||The 400 Blows|
|1958||Elevator to the Gallows|
|1958||Le Beau Serge|
|1954||La Pointe Courte|