Sometimes we get so carried away by the stories of Hollywood that we forget that cinema is worldwide. People are making movies everywhere and they are influencing each other as those movies travel and are seen by audiences around the world. There have been several seismic shifts in the history of cinema that changed movies, and one of them is the rise of the French New Wave.
The French New Wave, as it was known in English, is a film movement that rose to popularity in the late 1950s in Paris France. The idea was to give directors full creative control over their work, allowing them to favor improvised storytelling over strict narratives. The results changed the industry.
The manifesto of Alexander Astruc, The birth of a new avant-garde: the camera-style, (published in L'Ecran, on March 30, 1948) posits the idea that "cinema was in the process of becoming a new medium of expression on the same level as painting and the novel...a form in which and by which an artist he can express his thoughts, however abstract, or translate his obsessions exactly as he does in the contemporary essay or novel, call this new age of cinema the age of the "camera-stylo".
This essay inspired many French filmmakers of the time to branch out and try new things.
New Wave filmmakers, including Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, Éric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette and Claude ChabrolThey wanted to experiment with the cinematic form and styleBut they didn't have the budget to do it. Instead of succumbing to studio styles, they favored laptops for a run-and-gun style. Techniques included fragmented, discontinuous editing, and long takes that allowed the actors to explore a scene. The combination of realism, subjectivity, and commentary allowed these movies to have ambiguous characters, motifs, and even endings that weren't so clear cut.
And so the French New Wave. Here are four unmissable films from this trend to enjoy this weekend.
Paris Belongs to Us (Paris belongs to us)
Jacques rivette, one of the original critics-turned-filmmakers who helped fuel the French New Wave, began shooting his first feature film in 1958, long before the film revolution officially began with the 400 blows y Breathless.
Finally released in 1961, the rich and mysterious Paris Belongs to Us it offers some of the radical flavor that would come to define the movement, with a particularly clingy edge.
The film follows a young literature student (Betty Schneider) who befriends members of a loose group of XNUMX-somethings in Paris, united by the apparent suicide of an acquaintance. Imbued with a persistent disillusion after the Second World War, while evidencing the playfulness and fascination with theatrical performance and conspiracy that would become the director's hallmark, Paris Belongs to Us it marked the provocative beginning of a brilliant career as a director.
There is a before Breathless, and there was after Breathless.
Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this freeform, sexy, jazzy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer of Cahiers du cinema.
With its lack of shine, its excess of attitude, its criminal narrative in which anything goes and the effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, Breathless helped launch this new film school and ensured that deliveries of France they were never the same.
Chronicle of a summer (Chronicle of a summer)
Few films can claim as much influence on the course of cinema history as Chronicle of a summer.
The fascinating result of a collaboration between the filmmaker and anthropologist Jean Rouch and the sociologist Edgar Morin, this avant-garde work of what Morin called Truth cinema is a brilliantly conceived and executed sociopolitical diagnosis of the early XNUMXs in France.
Simply by interviewing a group of residents of Paris in the summer of 1960, beginning with the provocative and eternal question "Are you happy?" and expanding to political issues, including the War of Algeria ongoing, Rouch and Morin reveal the hopes and dreams of a wide range of people, from artists to factory workers, from an Italian émigré to an African student.
The penetrating approach of Chronicle of a Summer provides us with a document of a time and a place with extraordinary emotional depth.
le beau serge (The Beautiful Sergio)
of the sacred group of Cahiers du cinema critics turned filmmakers who transformed the history of French cinema, Claude Chabrol He was the first to direct his own feature film.
His historic and absorbing debut, le beau serge, follows a successful but sickly young man (Jean-Claude Brialy) who returns home to the small town where he grew up. There, she finds herself at odds with her former close friend (Gerard blain), now unhappily married and a miserable alcoholic, and the provincial life it represents.
The remarkable and austere le beau serge heralded the arrival of a cinematic titan who would continue to create provocative and entertaining films for another five decades.