The French New Wave is a cinema movement that started in the late 1950s and lasted until the mid-1960s. It was led by Jean Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer and others.

The films were often shot on location with non-professional actors as well as innovative camera techniques that are now standard practice today like hand-held cameras to get more intimate shots of their subjects.

If you’re a fan of French cinema, then I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “French New Wave.”

But what does it mean? The French New Wave is a movement that saw many young filmmakers break into the industry during this time period.

This was largely in response to both World War II and the conservative nature of post-war France.

These directors were all looking for new ways to express themselves artistically, which led them to make films about everyday life with little or no realism involved.

The style of these films is best described as more experimental than previous ones, such as Italian neorealism and Hollywood’s Classical Hollywood Style.

In addition, they often employed techniques like hand-held cameras and jump cuts – something that had not been regularly done before French New Wave.

 

WHAT IS FRENCH NEW WAVE

What Are French New Wave Films?

French New Wave films are defined by a rebellious attitude, the filmmakers’ rejection of established traditions in film-making, and their desire to experiment with cinematic technology.

The founders of this movement were Jean Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer.

 

 

What Is The French New Wave?

The French New Wave is a film movement that emerged from France in the 1950s. The films were characterized by fast-paced editing, close-ups of faces, and on-location shooting for authentic backgrounds.

They often focused on topics such as religion, class struggle, sexuality, and youth culture. These films are considered some of the most influential and innovative ever made.

It also explores what drew audiences to these types of films at the time they were released and how they have influenced other filmmaking styles since then.

The French New Wave is a film movement that started in the late 1950s. It was largely influenced by Italian Neorealism and classical Hollywood cinema, and it is often considered as the birth of modern cinema.

The term “French New Wave” has been used to describe an independent film movement from France in the 1960s, but this article will focus on films made during the original period of 1959-1964.

Films like “Breathless” (1960) were groundbreaking because they rejected traditional cinematic techniques such as deep focus cinematography or linear narratives for more experimental ones that included jump cuts, hand-held camera shots, natural lighting, and location shooting.

These new techniques allowed filmmakers to break away from what had come before them and create something entirely new. Something fresh.

The French New Wave was characterized by:

  • an informal style of filmmaking,
  • improvisation during shooting,
  • hand-held cameras for ‘natural’ shots, and
  • experimental editing, often using ‘jump cuts.’

The films are noted for their innovative approaches to:

  • narrative,
  • cinematography,
  • use of sound,
  • dialogue delivery (often naturalistic), and
  • their breaking away from traditional Hollywood conventions such as the three-act structure or omniscient narrator.

Best French New Wave Films

The French New Wave, or La Nouvelle Vague in its native tongue, is a film movement that took place largely during the late 1950s to late 1960s.

While it was initially seen as a rejection of traditional Hollywood cinema, it has since been embraced for its ability to shock audiences with its innovative techniques.

A key feature of the French New Wave is their preference for shooting on location and using natural lighting rather than relying on studio sets or artificial light sources.

By filming outside instead of inside studios, they were able to capture life as it actually happens; something that had never been done before in movies at this scale.

This technique also allowed them to use more improvisation from actors because they weren’t confined by set rules and regulations like other films.

Let’s look at what we believe to be the best French New Wave films.

Breathless (A bout de souffle) (1960)

One of the first films to make French New Wave a household term, Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 film Breathless (A bout de souffle) is a stylistic and thematic masterpiece.

Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (A bout de souffle) is a film about an American criminal on the run in Paris. It was released in 1960 and has been praised by critics for its innovative style, nonlinear storytelling, and critique of US culture.

The movie stars Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard and Jean Seberg as Patricia Franchini.

The movie follows Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) who lives with his girlfriend Patricia Franchini (Jean Seberg).

After stealing a car in Marseille, Michel shoots and kills a policeman who has followed him onto a country road.

Penniless and on the run from the police, he turns to an American love interest, Patricia, a student, and aspiring journalist, who sells the New York Herald Tribune on the boulevards of Paris.

The ambivalent Patricia unwittingly hides him in her apartment as he simultaneously tries to seduce her and call in a loan to fund their escape to Italy.

Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless is a French New Wave film that has been cited as one of the most influential films in history.

It was the first “art” film to have a large commercial success, and its international popularity contributed greatly to the rise of modern art cinema.

A Bout De Souffle - Al Final De La Escapada - (Non USA Format)
  • Spanish (Subtitle)
  • Spanish (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NC-17 (Adults Only)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a 1964 French film directed by Jacques Demy. The movie tells the story of Geneviève, who is working at her family’s umbrella shop in Cherbourg and falls in love with a young man named Guy.

The film is a musical romantic drama film written and directed by Jacques Demy, with music and lyrics by Michel Legrand. Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo star as two young lovers in the French city of Cherbourg, separated by circumstance.

The film’s dialogue is entirely sung as recitative, including casual conversation, and is sung-through, or through-composed, like some operas and stage musicals.

It has been seen as the middle part of an informal “romantic trilogy” of Demy films that share some of the same actors, characters, and overall look, coming after Lola (1961) and before The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967).

In 1964, a French film was released that would go on to become a cult classic. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of the few films where every word in the dialogue is sung.

Paris Belongs to Us / Paris nous appartient (1961)

Paris Belongs to Us is a French mystery film directed by Jacques Rivette. Set in Paris in 1957 and often referencing Shakespeare’s play Pericles, the title is highly ironic because the characters are immigrants or alienated and do not feel that they belong at all.

   

The story centers on an essentially innocent, young university student named Anne who, through her older brother, meets a group of friends haunted by mysterious tensions and fears that lead two of them to commit suicide.

Among them is her opposite, a femme fatale named Terry who has had affairs with all the men.

The source of the malaise affecting the group never is explained, leaving viewers to wonder how far it might be an amalgam of individual imbalances, general existentialist anxiety, or the paranoia of the Cold War as the world faced the possibility of nuclear annihilation.

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Paris Belongs to Us (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Paris Belongs To Us (Criterion Collection) - Blu-ray Used Like New
  • Betty Schneider, Jean-Claude Brialy (Actors)
  • Jacques Rivette (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Shoot The Piano Player / Tirez sur le pianiste (1960)

Shoot The Piano Player is a 1960 French New Wave crime drama film directed by François Truffaut that stars Charles Aznavour as the titular pianist with Marie Dubois, Nicole Berger, and Michèle Mercier as the three women in his life. It is based on the novel Down There by David Goodis.

The movie was written with the intention of displaying a more realistic representation of everyday life than that which was typically shown in films at that time.

Shoot the Piano Player (1960) ( Tirez sur le pianiste ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, Blu-Ray, Reg.B Import - United Kingdom ]
  • Shoot the Piano Player (1960) ( Tirez sur le pianiste )
  • Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
  • Tirez sur le pianiste
  • Charles Aznavour, Marie Dubois, Daniel Boulanger (Actors)
  • Fran?ois Truffaut (Director) - Shoot the Piano Player (1960) ( Tirez sur le pianiste ) (Producer)

Last Year At Marienbad (1961)

A film that has been considered a masterpiece, Last Year at Marienbad is a French-Swiss art film from 1961. The director and writer Alain Resnais was inspired by the 1941 novel of the same name by Polish author Hermann Broch.

The film jumps back and forth between long stretches of dialogue (lasting anywhere from five minutes to nearly an hour) and brief moments of action or visual interest.

The most notable aspect about this film are its many paradoxes which have led it to be widely analyzed as being both existentialist and postmodernist.

This movie has been said to “present nothing but enigmas,” leaving viewers questioning what they had just watched for days on

The story is incredibly engaging, but in order to enjoy it fully someone needs to watch it multiple times.

Last Year at Marienbad (1961) ( L'Année dernière à Marienbad ) ( L'Anno scorso a Marienbad ) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - France ]
  • Last Year at Marienbad (1961) ( L'Année dernière à Marienbad ) ( L'Anno scorso a Marienbad )
  • Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
  • L'Année dernière à Marienbad
  • L'Anno scorso a Marienbad
  • Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoëff (Actors)

La jetée (1962)

La jetée (1962) is a French film that has been called “the most beautiful science fiction movie ever made.” It was written and directed by Chris Marker.

La jetée is a short film directed by the French director, Chris Marker. The film was released in 1962 and consists of one long continuous take which lasts 20 minutes.

The film contains only one brief shot originating on a motion-picture camera, this due to the fact that Marker could only afford to hire one for an afternoon. The rest of the film is told via still photography.

The plot tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world where time travel has been invented but there are no more films or books left to show people how to live their lives.

The film is highly influential and is the film that Terry Gilliam’s 1995 blockbuster 12 Monkeys would be based on.

Jules et Jim (1962)

Jules et Jim (1962) is a French New Wave film depicting the relationship between two men and one woman.

The story follows their lives from their first meeting to the death of both men; it also depicts how they live together, fight with each other, and eventually separate.

The film is based on Henri-Pierre Roche’s novel “Jules et Jim”. It was directed by François Truffaut in 1962.

The movie was an international success and has been considered one of the best movies ever made. It is also well known for being filmed in Cinemascope with three-strip Technicolor film stock.

Jeanne Moreau incarnates the style of the French New Wave actress. The critic Ginette Vincindeau has defined this as, “beautiful, but in a kind of natural way: sexy, but intellectual at the same time, a kind of cerebral sexuality — this was the hallmark of the nouvelle vague woman.”

Though she isn’t in the film’s title, Catherine is “the structuring absence. She reconciles two completely opposed ideas of femininity.”

The entire first part of the film is devoted to scenes that show their great friendship and their carefree life together.

Jules & Jim [Blu-ray]
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

Pierrot le fou (1965)

Pierrot le fou is a French film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It was released in 1965 and is considered to be arguably the director’s most radical work of that decade.

The story revolves around Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Marianne (Anna Karina), who flee Paris on a motorcycle, heading south.

Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 film Pierrot le fou is a French New Wave masterpiece that explores the decline of traditional values and the rise of modernity.

Jean-Paul Belmondo plays Ferdinand, a man who escapes from his bourgeois life to live with his mistress in an isolated villa near Cannes.

In their search, they pass many contrasts: old buildings being demolished while new ones are constructed; people wearing suits walking down the street next to others in casual clothing; and billboards advertising “The Eiffel Tower” alongside ads for Coca Cola.

Pierrot le fou (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Raymond Devos, Dirk Sanders, Graziella Galvani (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Georges de Beauregard (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Contempt (Le mépris) (1963)

Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris is a film about the power of cinema and how it can affect people. It is an example of filmmaking at its best, with cinematography that rivals Citizen Kane (1941).

Le mépris (1963) is a French film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The movie follows the relationship between an aging professor and his much younger second wife, who is trying to make it as an actress in Paris.

It’s considered one of the most influential films of all time because of its cinematography and innovative editing techniques.

Le mépris, a 1963 film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, is a French New Wave classic. The film stars Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli as married couple Camille and Paul who are in the process of breaking up.

A philistine in the art film business, Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) is a producer unhappy with the work of his director.

Prokosch has hired Fritz Lang (as himself) to direct an adaptation of “The Odyssey,” but when it seems that the legendary filmmaker is making a picture destined to bomb at the box office, he brings in a screenwriter (Michel Piccoli) to energize the script.

The professional intersects with the personal when a rift develops between the writer and his wife (Brigitte Bardot).

Le Mepris (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

Hiroshima, My Love (1959)

In the summer of 1959, French filmmaker Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour was released. The film is a stark portrayal of postwar Japan and the lingering effects of nuclear weapons.

The French New Wave cinema has a unique style that is characterized by natural lighting and minimal sets. This documentary-style approach led to filmmakers using non-professional actors in their films.

There are some well-known examples such as Francois Truffaut’s L’enfant sauvage (1970) or Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah (1985). Film scholar David Bordwell also notes that this movement also

Hiroshima, mon amour (1959) is a French film directed by Alain Resnais. The film follows two characters – a Japanese man and a French woman – as they explore the ruins of Hiroshima after the atomic bombing during World War II.

The deep conversation between a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) and a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) forms the basis of this celebrated French film, considered one of the vanguard productions of the French New Wave.

Set in Hiroshima after the end of World War II, the couple – lovers turned friends – recount, over many hours, previous romances and life experiences.

The two intertwine their stories about the past with pondering the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb dropped on the city.

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Hiroshima mon amour [Blu-ray]
  • Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada (Actors)
  • Alain Resnais (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Cléo From 5 to 7 (1962)

In 1962, French director Agnès Varda released her masterpiece Cléo de 5 à 7. The film tells the story of a young woman struggling with self-identity as she contemplates whether or not to have an abortion.

It is a feminist classic and has been hailed as one of the best films ever made by critics and audiences alike.

The movie follows the life of an ordinary woman and her thoughts on love and death. It doesn’t have much in the way of a plot that can be followed in chronological order but instead focuses on Cléo’s feelings at different times of day.

Agnès Varda wants to portray this ordinary woman as she really is, not glamorized for the sake of Hollywood entertainment like most female roles are portrayed today. She also wanted to explore womanhood in its entirety without portraying any one aspect too heavily.

Directed by Agnès Varda and starring Anna Karina, this 1962 documentary-style drama captures the experience of one woman living in France during the 1960s.

The movie was filmed on location with real people who were not actors or actresses to show what life was like for women at that time.

It also explores themes such as love, independence, and feminism through conversations between friends or acquaintances about their personal lives.

The 400 Blows (1959)

The 400 Blows is a 1959 French New Wave film about the life of 13-year old Antoine Doinel. The movie is told through his perspective, and it follows him as he struggles to find his place in society.

This movie has been called one of the best movies ever made because it does such an amazing job at showing how difficult it can be for a child struggling with their mental health issues to find happiness and success in life.

The movie was highly controversial when it was released as it deals frankly with many difficult subjects including abuse, neglect, and feelings of loneliness.

This film left such an impression on cinema that its influence can still be seen today in movies like Boyhood.

Jean-Pierre Léaud’s debut film is one of the most famous films in history, and it has been called “the first great film about childhood.”

Filmed in black and white at 25 frames per second using handheld camera work for realism, it has been acclaimed not only as an important cinematic achievement but also for its influence on generations of filmmakers around the world since its release.

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The 400 Blows (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Jean-Pierre Leaud (Actor)
  • François Truffaut (Director)

The Nun (La réligieuse) (1966)

The film La réligieuse (1966) is a French drama, directed by Jacques Rivette and starring Anna Karina.

The 1966 French film La réligieuse follows a young woman who is forced to live in a convent following the death of her parents.

This movie provides an interesting perspective on what it means to be religious or spiritual because there are many instances where Sister’s spirituality leads her away from obedience.

Suzanne (Anna Karina) unwillingly joins a religious order, but the presence of the kindly mother superior, Mme. de Moni (Micheline Presle), makes life seem bearable.

When Mme. de Moni dies, though, she is replaced by Sister Sainte-Christine (Francine Bergé), a sadistic disciplinarian with a grudge against Suzanne.

Suzanne obtains a transfer to a different convent – until she discovers that her new abbess, Mme. de Chelles (Liselotte Pulver), is a sexual predator.

La Religieuse [ The Nun ] [ Jacques Rivette ]
  • Photos
  • ANNA KARINA (Actor)
  • JACQUES RIVETTE (Director)
  • Portuguese Brazilian (Subtitle)

Les bonnes femmes (1960)

Les Bonnes Femmes is a 1960 French film directed by Claude Chabrol. The story follows four women who work in Paris.

All four are trying to find happiness with men in their lives but they have all come up short for one reason or another.

Maud has been married for 15 years and her husband spends his time away from home with other women while she struggles to keep up financially with household bills and two children.

It’s an interesting movie to watch because it gives insight into domestic gender roles that existed at this time period.

It has been critically acclaimed for its use of color as well as its interesting portrayal of rural life in France.

The film also explores the social pressures that exist for women at this time, such as a woman’s need to be both beautiful and brainy.

Les Bonnes Femmes
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Jean-Marie Arnoux, France Asselin, Stéphane Audran (Actors)
  • Claude Chabrol (Director)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

Le bonheur (1965)

The French word for happiness, “le bonheur” is a feeling that many people strive to achieve in their lives. This idea is explored through the film Le bonheur (1965).

The film is associated with the French New Wave and won two awards at the 15th Berlin International Film Festival, including the Jury Grand Prix.

The film is worth watching because of its slow pace and unique perspective on love in marriage.

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Four by Agnes Varda (La Pointe Courte / Cleo from 5 to 7 / Le bonheur / Vagabond) (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Agnes Varda (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

La collectionneuse (1967)

The film La collectionneuse, directed by Éric Rohmer in 1967, is a story of infidelity and lust.

La Collectionneuse (also known as The Collector) is a French comedy-drama film directed by Éric Rohmer. The third entry in his Six Moral Tales series is his first film in color.

Set on the south coast of France in August, it portrays the shifting relationships between four very different characters who, as in the comedies of Marivaux, play games of love and chance.

The girl, who seduces two of the men and is resisted by the third, is called the collectionneuse.

The film won the Silver Bear Extraordinary Jury Prize at the 17th Berlin International Film Festival. It is often considered one of Rohmer’s best films.

My Night at Maud’s (1969)

My Night At Maud’s is a classic Eric Rohmer film. Rohmer was often referred to as ‘the old man’ of the French New Wave, as the other filmmakers associated with the movement were substantially younger than him.

The film is the third film (fourth in order of release) in his series of Six Moral Tales.

Over the Christmas break in a French city, the film shows chance meetings and conversations between four single people, each knowing one of the other three.

One man and one woman are Catholics, while the other man and woman are atheists.

The discussions and actions of the four continually refer to the thoughts of Blaise Pascal on mathematics, ethics, and human existence.

They also talk about a topic the bachelor Pascal did not cover – love between men and women.

My Night with Maud ( Ma nuit chez Maud ) ( Six Moral Tales III: My Night at Maud's ) (Blu-Ray & DVD Combo) [ NON-USA FORMAT, Blu-Ray, Reg.B Import - France ]
  • My Night with Maud ( Ma nuit chez Maud ) ( Six Moral Tales III: My Night at Maud's ) (Blu-Ray & DVD
  • My Night with Maud
  • Ma nuit chez Maud
  • Six Moral Tales III: My Night at Maud's
  • Jean-Louis Trintignant, Françoise Fabian, Marie-Christine Barrault (Actors)

Zazie dans le métro (1960)

Zazie dans le métro, a film written and directed by Louis Malle in 1960.

Frequently surreal, and full of visual and verbal jokes, the intricate plot follows a group of protean characters around a crowded Paris during a Métro strike.

The film has inspired many filmmakers since its release including Wes Anderson, who said that “Zazie’s story was my first experience of what cinema could be.”

Decades after its release, Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote that it was “arguably Louis Malle’s best work…A rather sharp, albeit soulless, film, packed with ideas and glitter and certainly worth a look.”

British writer/director Richard Ayoade cited Zazie in the Metro as one of his all-time favorite films, adding that the film adapted “the verbal into something so visual. And Malle did so very inventively.”

ZAZIE EN EL METRO (Zazie Dans Le Metro) All Regions - PAL - Louis Malle
  • Spanish (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

The Young Girls of Rochefort (Les Demoiselles de Rochefort) (1967)

The 1967 French film Les demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort) is a musical comedy about the lives and loves of two sisters who live in France.

This classic French musical is not only entertaining but also informative for those who are interested in learning more about life in France at this time period.It stars Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac.

As we follow them through this journey, we are introduced to some very catchy songs that will stay with you long after watching it!

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The Young Girls of Rochefort (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Dorléac, George Chakiris (Actors)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: G (General Audience)

Le Beau Serge (1958)

Le Beau Serge is a French film directed by Claude Chabrol, released in 1958. It has been cited as the first product of the Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave, film movement.

The film is often compared with Chabrol’s subsequent film Les Cousins, which also features Jean-Claude Brialy and Gérard Blain.

François, a successful yet sickly young man, returns to his home town Sardent after a long absence.

He finds that his friend Serge has become a wretched alcoholic, dissatisfied with his life in the village.

Serge had hoped to leave the village to study but had to stay to marry Yvonne when she became pregnant.

The death of their stillborn child did not help. Serge has become an angry, bitter figure, not unlike the roles of James Dean, refusing to face reality and adulthood.

Yvonne is again pregnant. François finds himself at odds with provincial village life yet compelled to help Serge.

The fact that they are both entangled sexually with Yvonne’s sister, Marie, makes things more complicated.

Finally, the birth of Serge and Yvonne’s second child seems to provide some possibility of happiness.

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Le Beau Serge (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Gerard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Michele Meritz (Actors)
  • Claude Chabrol (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

What Are The Characteristics Of French New Wave

The French New Wave Film Movement is known for its innovative visual style. The filmmakers of this movement experimented with the camera and editing to create a new way of filmmaking.

They focused on characters’ psychology and their emotional states, while also exploring social issues such as alienation in modern society.

The following are some characteristics that you might find in a film from this movement:

  • hand-held camera,
  • jump cuts,
  • point-of-view shots,
  • offscreen space or sound used to imply something happening elsewhere on the screen (usually out of view),
  • fast cutting between various scenes or shots that show what different characters are doing during the same time period (often done without regard for continuity),
  • sudden changes from silence to loud music or vice versa,
  • unusual angles,
  • A rebellious and/or youthful streak.

The term “French New Wave” was coined by critics and refers to a group of young filmmakers who had their films screened at Cannes Film Festival, such as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Claude Chabrol.

The French New Wave is characterized by its innovative techniques in editing, camera angles, use of sound (such as diegetic music), lack of plot or storyline, and unconventional narrative structures.

These characteristics are seen in many different movies produced during this period including Breathless directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

The French New Wave is a period in film history that lasted from the late 1950s to the late-1960s. It emphasized formalistic techniques and is known for its artistic aesthetic.

How Did The French New Wave Movement Originate

The French New Wave movement was developed in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a term that encapsulates all of the films made by filmmakers who were born in or after 1929, and who came to prominence between 1955 and 1965.

The name “New Wave” comes from its connection to an analogy with new technologies such as television, which had been introduced at this time.

The main idea behind the movement was to create exciting cinema for young people – ‘cinéma du jeune public’ (the first big success being François Truffaut’s 1958 film Les Quatre Cents Coups).

Filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard used the camera to capture shots of everyday life, including seemingly mundane moments.

The filmmakers of this era were known to be experimental with sound and image, as well as break traditional storytelling rules. They also used new camera techniques that allowed them more fluidity in their shots.

These directors are credited with breaking down many barriers within filmmaking, such as those between fiction and documentary filmmaking and between cinema and television.

The new wave style is often thought to have been influenced by Italian Neorealism from 1945 to 1954 because they both share similar styles.

However, these two movements have different origin stories so they are not mutually exclusive or inclusive of one another.

The term ‘French new wave’ was coined by French film critic, Andre Bazin. This movement sought to have more realism and spontaneity as opposed to the classical Hollywood style of filmmaking.

It’s a style of filmmaking that became popular because it introduced lighter, more fluid films with shorter shots and faster editing.

The French New Wave filmmakers wanted to break free from traditional cinematic techniques by using a lot of close-ups and quick edits to keep things moving quickly.

International Popularity Of French New Wave

As we’ve covered, the French New Wave film movement was distinguished by its use of jump cuts, hand-held camera work, natural lighting, and filming on location. The films were also noted for their youthful energy and rebelliousness.

The popularity of this film genre can be seen today with many new filmmakers in America adopting these techniques.

French New Wave is a movement within the French film industry occurring from about 1959 to 1964.

It was an era in which they experimented with lighter and more informal storytelling methods, like handheld cameras, jump cuts, fast cutting, location shooting, and improvisation.

The result was a new kind of cinema that rejected many of the conventional rules of Hollywood filmmaking and relied on experimentation.

This style became popular around the world for its use of naturalistic dialogue and casual settings.

As a result, it has been influential on generations of filmmakers including those who made modern-day classics such as Pulp Fiction or Raging Bull – Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese, respectively.

How The French New Wave Changed Cinema

Filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Claude Chabrol were instrumental in bringing about this new era of filmmaking.

The films produced during this time period are usually associated with youthful rebellion against traditional culture.

Theater attendance was declining by the end of World War II, leading to less money for production companies and theater owners.

In order to maintain their audiences, they needed to come up with something innovative – something original.

This need led them to embrace filmmakers like those mentioned above who were willing to take risks on new ideas and techniques on how best present movie scenes. The result was an evolution in film and style

The wider new wave was an artistic movement in France and other parts of Europe, which changed the way cinema was made: it challenged traditional Hollywood standards by using handheld cameras, natural lighting, and sound recording on location.

It also had a profound impact on film culture with its focus on social realism, innovative storytelling techniques, and stylistic experimentation.

Films of the French New Wave were noted for their artistic and experimental nature. They often broke traditional cinematic conventions, which was a radical shift in cinema at the time.

The movement is also notable for its focus on young people and how they are affected by society, as well as exploring new ways to express themselves artistically through film.

The French New Wave is one of the most influential film movements in history. It changed how cinema was made and what it consisted of.

This movement’s goal was to capture reality on film, through the use of handheld cameras, long shots, natural lighting, and a loose narrative structure.

The filmmakers wanted audiences to feel as if they were part of the story rather than looking at it from afar.

The filmmakers also used unconventional editing techniques for their time that created a frenetic style with jump cuts and quick edits known as “jump-in” or “cut-in”.

From these techniques came what we know now as modern cinematography. These techniques can be seen today in films such as Mean Streets (1973) by Martin Scorsese and the work of Quentin Tarantino.

What Is French New Wave – Wrap Up

As we’ve covered, French New Wave cinema is a style of filmmaking that emerged from France in the late 1950s.

It was influenced by Italian Neorealism, and many filmmakers who were involved in it were former members of French Resistance groups during World War II.

This movement spawned such icons as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Éric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette.

The films often had creative techniques not seen before at the time like jump cuts and camera angles to make viewers feel more connected with what they are seeing on screen.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the French New Wave. What are your favorite French New Wave films? Let us know in the comments below.
 

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