Breaking The Standards Of Film: The French New Wave

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French New Wave: Breaking the Standards
The French New Wave during the 1950s and 1960s broke the standards of cinema, and revolutionized the film industry. “During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the New Wave rejuvenated France’s already prestigious cinema and energized the international art cinema as well as film criticism and theory, reminding many contemporary observers of Italian neorealism’s impact right after World War II” (Neupert xv). World War II left in a large amount of debt. At that time, very few films produced outside of France was not allowed to be played into theatres. However, the Blum-Byrnes Agreement signed in 1946 allowed France to ease the burden of debt. The signing of this agreement allowed American products such as films
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When watching a movie during this new generation of films is the editing sets it apart from earlier films. Films during the New Wave used jump cuts throughout the film. A jump cut is defined as, “an abrupt break in the continuity of a scene created by editing out part of a shot or scene” (“Jump cut”). A jump cut shows the difference of time and space between two shots to match or mismatch scenes to make a connection. Before the French New Wave, film directors avoided this technique to keep the illusion of reality and continuous editing between shots or scenes. Previous films would use a long shot to set up a scene, and shot-reaction shots to keep the continuity of the film. These old techniques were the main formula known as the “Classic Hollywood Narrative”. The Classic Hollywood Narrative had certain techniques that all filmmakers followed and did not break these rules to ensure the illusion of reality is kept in the audience’s perspective. In Goddard’s film, Breathless (Godard 1960), Jean Seberg (Patricia Franchini) and Jean Paul Belmondo (Michel Poiccard) drive in a car around Paris. Godard uses jump cuts when the characters are discussing and not the normal long take. The frame is not composed over the shoulder and is positioned a little off the shoulder. The conversation is not a shot-reaction shot and the audience does not see Jean Paul’s face during the conversation besides a few moments. This film shows the discontinuity of editing and following the rules of the editing. Thus, the audience is aware he/she is watching a movie and the illusion of reality is broken. The Classic Hollywood Narrative stated that transitions from scene to scene was moving one location to next and watching the time it took to get to the new scene. However, in the French New Wave filmmakers just jumped to a new scene and used the idea of “show and don’t tell” ("Breaking The
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