french new wave

French New Wave (1950s-1960s)

The French New Wave was a movement of filmmakers who rejected traditional Hollywood-style filmmaking and embraced low budgets, handheld cameras, and non-linear storytelling. Filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut were pioneers of this movement, which had a profound influence on global cinema. The French New Wave’s emphasis on personal expression, unconventional narrative structures, and the breaking of established rules inspired filmmakers in various countries, giving rise to new waves of creativity. They are also considered among the first auteurs, meaning they were not just directors but the creative force behind their films, embodying their vision, personal style, and thematic values. They challenged conventions and explored new approaches to narrative, editing, and cinematography.

Just like poetic realism has impacted the way we create and experience films today, the French new wave is credited for revolutionizing the world of cinema. It changed the game by proving that a fantastic film could be made without all the fancy studio setups that were considered necessary before.

Think about it: before the French New Wave came along, the idea of making a movie outside the studio system was almost unheard of. But then these visionary filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut said, ‘Hey, do we really need all that expensive equipment and massive budgets to tell a compelling story?’ NO!

They showed us that cinema could be raw, authentic, and made on a budget.

still from breathless

Godard’s ground-breaking film ‘Breathless’ (1960) and Truffaut’s ‘The 400 Blows’ (1959) are perfect examples of the French New Wave’s impact. These movies broke away from traditional storytelling and embraced a more naturalistic style with handheld cameras, improvised dialogue, and non-linear narratives.

They gave a fresh and raw perspective to cinema and gave birth to a new generation of filmmakers who embraced a do-it-yourself spirit, paving the way for independent cinema as we know it today. They proved that all you need is a great idea, passion, and a camera to create something truly remarkable. So, the next time you pick up a camera, remember the French New Wave and let their rebellious spirit inspire you to break the rules and create your own unique cinematic masterpiece.

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