If the French New Wave was a movement that aimed to shock and provoke, then No Wave cinema was the next logical step.
The late ’70s and early ’80s found New York City in economic decline, with crime rates soaring and many residents fleeing the boroughs for more peaceful pastures.
It was during this period of troubled transition that several brilliant young filmmakers decided to embrace their surroundings as material and create an entirely new genre of cinema.
Often referred to as No Wave cinema, this movement would take on a variety of names including New Cinema, underground film, avant-garde cinema, etc., but it would always retain its essential nihilistic attitude.
It was a revolt against mainstream Hollywood filmmaking, but it also rejected the slick imagery of the French New Wave.
Most important of all: independent cinema actually existed in America again!
No Wave Cinema
What Is No Wave Cinema?
No Wave Cinema was a movement in New York City during the late 1970s and early 1980s that included filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, Eric Mitchell, Amos Poe, and Beth B.
It was a reaction to the more mainstream New Hollywood movement of the 1970s.
Where New Hollywood focused on story and character development, No Wave Cinema rejected these aspects of filmmaking.
The films were about the “now” — their themes were about city life, their characters were often portrayed as outsiders, and they had a raw visual aesthetic that reflected the grittiness of living in New York City.
What Is No Wave Cinema?
No Wave Cinema came out of the punk rock scene, and was defined more by attitude than style.
Filmmakers like Kembra Pfahler, Beth B, and Tommy Turner were influenced by the raw energy of punk music and the art world of New York City in the 1960s and 1970s.
No Wave Cinema was characterized by its gritty look, use of non-professional actors, and edgy themes. There were no major releases or box office hits; these films were made for a select audience.
No Wave Cinema was sometimes labeled “underground,” but many of those involved rejected the label because it seemed limiting.
No Wave filmmakers had a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to their work. They didn’t care about money or fame; their goal was to create something that could be appreciated by a small group of people.
For years, you couldn’t find these films anywhere outside of a few select NYC revival houses and obscure foreign festivals.
In 2007 (the same year as Jarmusch’s Independent Spirit Award), No Wave Cinema: The Definitive Collection hit DVD through Plexifilm. It featured three full discs worth of material from these filmmakers and
Shooting Blanks: A History Of No Wave Cinema
The films of the No Wave movement are as wild, confrontational and controversial as the music that inspired them. Here we take a look at some of the key films from this short-lived movement, which began to flourish in New York in the late 1970s.
The No Wave Cinema movement was influenced by the gritty spirit of punk rock and its do-it-yourself ethics. It was very much a reaction against the established cinema of the time, with its self-seriousness and (pardon the pun) often silly plots.
The No Wave Cinema filmmakers used many techniques seen in avant garde films but they did so with a DIY punk attitude.They borrowed from their friends in underground rock bands like The Velvet Underground, who made their own films to play along to their music and thereby created a new ‘visual’ experience for their fans.
They also borrowed ideas from Samuel Beckett, who believed that words were just as important as images. This led to an emphasis on using words to convey meaning and emotion rather than relying on dialogue and plot development (as Bresson had done).
The filmmakers were mostly young, unknown people making their first films, so there was no studio politics or pressure to conform to any norms or expectations.
Essential Films From The No Wave Cinema Movement
A lot of the movies in this collection are not going to be for everyone. The vast majority of them have no narrative at all, and rely on a combination of visuals, sound effects, music and maybe an occasional voiceover to take the place of any plot.
But if you keep an open mind and don’t expect plot in the traditional sense, these movies offer up some weird, interesting ideas about film editing and structure.The term “no wave cinema” comes from a movement within filmmaking that took place in New York City during the 1970s.
At that time, artists were questioning how much control they had over their own art forms.And with the rise of video cameras and super 8 film equipment, anybody could create movies.
So was it art? Or just entertainment?No Wave Cinema came into being as an answer to those questions. Filmmakers used techniques like splicing film together, showing it on random speeds or recording directly to video, which was considered a medium for commercial content at the time.
They explored how those techniques affected the audiences’ perception of what they were seeing on screen. Some considered what it would be like if we showed movies backwards or printed words backwards on screen so we had to read them in a mirror.
Born In Flames (1983)
Born in Flames is a 1983 documentary film-essay directed by Lizzie Borden. It chronicles the development of American feminism from the 1910s to the 1980s, and explores the intersections between feminist and anti-nuclear activists.
The film is structured around several interviews with women who also appear in archival footage. The film’s title comes from a poem by Denise Levertov, “Born in Flames”.
The poem makes use of the imagery of fire to evoke a sense of radical transformation.Born in Flames was made at a moment when the radical feminist movement was undergoing a rapid re-evaluation of its goals and strategies, much like the male-dominated New Left had been doing for years.
Many women were becoming increasingly disenchanted with the commercialized direction being taken by second-wave feminism (as exemplified by Ms. magazine).They were also alienated from lesbianism as a political identity and were searching for new directions.
The archival footage used in Born in Flames is striking for its depth and diversity; it includes newsreels, Hollywood films, television, music videos, educational films, and home movies.This footage is seamlessly intercut with contemporary interviews with women from diverse backgrounds.
These interviews are often quite moving as they explore issues of violence.
Working Girls (1986)
Working Girls is a 1986 American drama film directed by Richard Benjamin, and stars Melanie Griffith, Eva Mendes and Anne Bancroft. It is the third film adaptation of Studs Terkel’s book of the same name.
The first was the short-lived 1973 television series “Working Girls” on NBC. The second was the 1980 television movie “Working Girls: The Movie”, which starred Candice Azzara and Brooke Shields.
The film centers on three women in their 20s, who all work at a Chicago brothel owned by Anna (Bancroft). They are Mary (Griffith), recently released from prison, who has her eye on an acting career; Gail (Mendes), a college dropout who wants to go back to school; and Denise (Kirby), who dreams of moving to New York City and becoming a comic book artist.
Audrey (Elizabeth Daily) is a street-smart runaway who becomes their friend after she joins the house to rob it. What’s Working Girls about? First of all, it’s a cleverly written movie.
There are many clever lines and witty conversations. And the story is interesting, with lots of unexpected turns.
The main “plot” is the story of two women, Elena and Beatrice, who work in a factory that makes tablecloths. Elena (Marilu Tolo) has been working in the factory for a long time.
Black Box (1978)
The Black Box (1978) is a thriller film made by John Korty and directed by Paul M. Glaser, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Robert Dillon and ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ (1976) actor David Bowie.The film was recorded on location in Berkeley, California and San Francisco, California and starred boxers Tim McIntire and James Earl Jones as well as featuring cameos from musicians The Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart as well as Bill Graham, who plays himself.
The film also features an appearance by Orson Welles as a reporter in a scene set outside the Avalon Ballroom.Pete Stuyvesant (James Earl Jones), a former boxer turned radio show host, becomes obsessed with the idea that his daughter (Megan Follows) has been kidnapped after she disappears from the family home one day.
He soon finds out that she has eloped with her boyfriend to Mexico but he refuses to believe this is true. Pete becomes increasingly paranoid about his child’s safety and begins to suspect that her boyfriend is involved in some terrible crime ring.
“Black Box” tells the story of a daring flight across the Atlantic Ocean, performed by daredevil Chuck Yeager (played by himself).
Incredible Women Of New York City’s No Wave Cinema Scene
If you’re a feminist, or just a human who appreciates art and film, you probably know about the French New Wave. Chances are you also know about the New York School of Abstract Expressionism.
If you’re really into cinema, maybe you’ve heard about the Lumière Brothers and their early movies. But have you ever heard of No Wave Cinema?The 1970s were a time of artistic revolution in New York City.
The Museum of Modern Art was showing more experimental films than ever before; artists were pushing boundaries with new media and performance art; and musicians were playing music that had never been heard before.Music photographer Deborah Feingold and her husband, filmmaker Tony Silver, were there to witness all these changes.
So when they decided to make their own film in 1978 — an experimental documentary called “The Blank Generation” — they didn’t have to look far for actors.They knew all the people they needed to cast lived right there in their apartment building on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side.
In 1978, Silver and Feingold were living on the sixth floor of a tenement building at 165 Ludlow Street in Manhattan, along with 21 other residents: artists, poets, filmmakers, and musicians. Feingold met many of them.
Vivienne Dick’s Notable Films Of The Era
If you’re a film buff and have never heard of Vivienne Dick, then you should definitely check out this list of her more notable films. She was a true pioneer in the industry and deserves to be remembered for her great work.
From the time she was a young woman, Vivienne Dick was drawn to acting and the entertainment world. After graduating high school at the age of 16, she decided to pursue her dream and began performing in local theater productions.
By the time she was 18 years old, she had already received her first big break and joined the chorus line at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Although she only stayed with Radio City for one year, it allowed her to get her foot in the door in the entertainment world and gain some valuable experience.
After leaving Radio City, Vivienne began working on Broadway and performed alongside stars like Marlene Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead and Helen Hayes. She also appeared in a number of movies during this time as well.
In 1927, Vivienne Dick married actor John Gilbert after he divorced his wife Mary Philips. The two remained married until John Gilbert’s death from tuberculosis in 1936. Vivienne Dick continued to act after her husband’s death but eventually.
History Of No Wave Cinema
No Wave Cinema is a documentary about no wave cinema. It’s a film that we’re making, and it’s a film that we’re helping to make.
It’s a film made by you, but not just for you. It’s a film made for everyone, and by everyone.
You only exist because you were born in the past, so your life will be over soon. No Wave Cinema will live on forever.
History Of No Wave Cinema is the story of an art form that came out of New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was documented in photos, films and music recordings.Some of the most iconoclastic artists of the era helped create it; some sought to destroy it. For a brief moment it all came together, but then dissipated, leaving behind some incredible artworks that have become cult classics and some legendary shows that were never recorded or filmed.
No Wave Cinema is more than just a history lesson; it’s also an exploration of how art forms evolve as they grow out of their own chaotic beginnings into more refined forms.Every generation has its rebels who fight against their elders, who break down old definitions and try to redefine what art is supposed to be about.
The new generation always thinks the old generation.
Essential Filmmakers Of No Wave Cinema
No Wave Cinema is a genre of movies that were produced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The films were made by underground filmmakers in New York City, mainly in the downtown area of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Titles such as “No Wave”, “Blank Generation”, “Times Square” are a few examples of these films. Although the term No Wave Cinema was coined by art critic R. Crumb, it was musician James Chance who used the term to define his own work—films with a raw, grainy quality and an improvisational feel.
There are different kinds of non-traditional, anti-Hollywood approaches to film making that came out of New York City around this time, but they all have some common elements: they embrace low budget production methods and home video aesthetics, are politically charged and aimed at a younger audience.The subject matter is mainly derived from the daily life of young people living in urban New York, their interactions with each other and their political views.
The music played an important role in this movement – often the soundtracks were produced before a movie was shot. A great part of these movies were shown at night clubs, bars and other alternative venues instead of traditional cinemas.
Importance Of No Wave Cinema
No Wave Cinema is an art form and movement that has been gaining popularity over the past few years, thanks in part to the innovations made by the late, great Tony Conrad.This form of cinema was born in New York City in the mid 1970s, and involved combining experimental film with performance art.
It’s an art form that was propelled by a very specific time and place, so it’s important for those who wish to try their hand at No Wave Cinema to understand the importance of this movement.Tony Conrad was born on October 25th, 1940 in Queens, NY.
His parents were both musicians and they encouraged his interest in music from a young age.He studied music composition at Harvard University and later moved to New York City where he began studying at The New School for Social Research.
It was during his time at The New School where he became interested in film projects, but he soon found out that it was difficult to find funding for his projects due to their unconventional nature.There is something about this era in NYC which created a breeding ground for No Wave Cinema: the neighborhood of Lower East Side is teeming with artistic activity thanks to cheap rents, underground music venues (such as Max’s Kansas City), and a general feeling of lawlessness that allowed artists to think.
No Wave Cinema Theory
The “No Wave Cinema Theory” emerges from the idea that cinema is more than just a medium of entertainment. In its capacity as a form of media, cinema has the ability to stimulate social change.
The theory attempts to make this argument by suggesting that No Wave Cinema was a movement created by artists and filmmakers to address the limited amount of “artistic freedom” within the film industry at the time.In other words, the No Wave Cinema Theory argues that No Wave Cinema was created as an alternative to mainstream narrative cinema because it provided an outlet for artists with radical ideas and concepts that would not necessarily be accepted by Hollywood.
This essentially means that No Wave Cinema was created by artists to create art for art’s sake, rather than art for money’s sake.The underlying objective of the No Wave Cinema Theory is to simply spread awareness about the movement amongst people who are unfamiliar with it.
The theory also aims to provide insight into some of the techniques, aesthetics and theoretical foundations behind this movement.So, if you are unfamiliar with this particular film movement or are just curious about it, feel free to check out some movies based around this theory.
The End Of No Wave Cinema
No wave cinema was a film movement that started in the late 1970s and was characterized by low-budget, experimental, underground films. The movement began to fade by the mid 1980s and disappeared by the end of the 1980s.
The name “no wave” comes from the fact that many filmmakers had roots in punk music and used a similar philosophy when making their films.The cinematic movement’s roots come from the early 1970s, when artists began to work outside of mainstream cinema.
The idea of no wave cinema may have begun with the release of “Blank Generation” (1975), which was one of the first punk rock movies released in New York City.Other movies that were made during this time include: “Cutter’s Way” (1981) and “Times Square” (1980).
These independent films were often shot with little money and were filmed using homemade equipment or discarded cameras.The films included a variety of styles due to their low budgets. Some films were black and white while others were shot on color stock, while still other films were filmed without sound.
Many filmmakers did not credit themselves as directors, but instead used pseudonyms so they could retain more control over their work. The films also had little structure, as some ran for only 10 minutes
No Wave Cinema – Wrapping Up
No Wave Cinema is the latest in a series of films by Chris Pervelis exploring the notion of popular, yet underground cinema.Trying to define these films is a tall order.
They are not underground films by any conventional definition. They were not made by unknown directors and they were not shot using film stock that was never intended for cinematic use.
In fact,No Wave Cinema was shot using some of the most advanced motion picture equipment available today.These films are underground in the sense that they do not appeal to the lowest common denominator and they are not interested in mass-market appeal; instead, their focus is on the creation of art for art’s sake.
No Wave Cinema is an attempt to explore a genre that has largely been overlooked by both critics and those who view popular culture as more than just a vehicle for selling products.The films in this collection have been selected because they represent a new kind of cinema and a new way of looking at film history.
one that asks us to rethink where we place popular cinema along the continuum from mainstream to underground because it challenges our assumptions about low-budget filmmaking, family values, community and art for art’s sake.