Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Lecture Notes//French New wave cinema of 1950s & 60s Lecture

Who were the new wave?
There was a Period of many “new waves”:
- Britain
- French movement most influential – focus on Paris
- Group of French Filmmakers: 
- Jean-Luc Goddard
- François Truffaut
- Claude Chabrol
- Jacques Rivette
- Eric Rohmer

- All of these were once film critics, and all have a background in film theory.
- All wrote for Cahiers du Cinéma

La Pointe Courte (1954), by Agnes Varda – Starts off the New Wave

The French New Wave and European art cinema, post-1960
• Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless (1960)
• The French New Wave: Godard and
François Truffaut
• Italy in the 1960s: Federico Fellini,
Michaelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo
• Other countries: Ingmar Bergman
(Sweden), Luis Buñuel (return to France
and Spain)

The French New Wave (late 1950s-early 1960s)
• Henri Langlois and the Paris Cinematèque
• André Bazin and the realist tradition
• Cahiers du Cinema
• From Critics to Auteurs
• Against the “Cinema of Quality”
• Discovery of American genre films
• Cinematic, rather than literary, values
• Importance of personal expression
• Spontaneity and digression

Truffaut at work, 1964

French New Wave: existentialism
(Philosopher Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
–Stressed the individual.
–Experience of free choice.
–Absence of any rational understanding of universe.
–Sense of absurdity in human life.
–In indifferent world, existentialist seeks to:
          –Act authentically
          –Use free will
          –Take responsibility for all their actions.
          –Avoid playing out roles pre-ordained by society.

The French New Wave ‘Look’
- shot on location
- used lightweight sound and lighting equipment
- faster film stocks, less light
- films shot quickly and cheaply
- encouraged experimentation & improvisation
- casual, natural look
- available light
- available sound
- mise-en-scene – French landscape, café
- mobile camera

Reacting against french film of 1940s (cinéma du papa)
The French new wave did things against the norm of the French films:
•Against films shot in a studio
•Against films that were set in the past
•Against films that were contrived and over- dramatised
•Against films that used trickery and special effects
•Against la tradition de qualité

The new wave celebrated American film noir because they reflected contemporary urban life

Characters in contemporary dress, speaking in the venacluar

Breathless - Jean-Luc Godard (1930- )
• Reinventing film from the ground up
• Basis in American gangster films, but everything is
• Location shooting, natural light, handheld camera
• Use of jump cuts, mismatches, and other violations
of continuity editing rules
• Self-reflexivity: Jean-Paul Belmondo and Bogart
• Jean Seberg: America/France
• Use of digressions and suspensions of action
• Reality of story/reality of film
• Ambiguities of character, of identification, of ending

French New Wave: the editing style:
–Free style
–Did not conform to editing rules
–Jump Cuts
–Insertion of extraneous material
–Shooting on location Natural lighting Improvised dialogue and plotting Direct sound recording Long       takes Many of these conventions
 The overall goal - To make the audience remember that they are WATCHING A MOVIE….

Mood shifts within the films:
•Heroes are aimless, stylish, act silly.
•Yet they are also cowardly, amoral.
•Mood shifts:
•About death and betrayal.

 Godard: Influence
• Jump cuts
• Elasticity of time
• Montage, beyond Eisenstein
• Relative independence of sound & image
• Focus on both Narration and Narrated
• Self-reflexive cinema
• “Reality” of images (& sounds, & words)

Cleo 5 to 7 Varda (1963)
- shot for $64,000 and financed by the New Wave producers Beauregard and Ponti through their Rome-Paris films company.

- Cleo still has the features of the New wave film:
•shot in the day,
• black and white
•35 mm
•using real locations
•naturalistic light
• Its particular feature is its use of real time.

Cleo is a flâneus, for most of the second part of the film:
•Beaudelaire’s masculine form flâneur
•coined the concept which is strongly masculine in its origins - being the idea of the invisible male who walks through the city and observes but does not engage with those about him.

Other New Wave films
• 1959
• François Truffaut, The 400 Blows
• Alain Resnais, Hiroshima Mon Amour
• 1960
• Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless
• François Truffaut, Shoot the Piano Player
• 1961
• Jacques Rivette, Paris nous appartient
• Jean-Luc Godard, A Woman Is A Woman
• Alain Resnais, Last Year At Marienbad
• 1962
• François Truffaut, Jules and Jim
• Agnes Varda, Cleo From 5 to 7
• Jean-Luc Godard, My Life To Live

No comments:

Post a Comment