History of the French New Wave

1676 WordsOct 8, 19997 Pages
In 1959- early 1960 five directors released debut feature length films that are widely regarded as heralding the start of the French nouvelle vague or French New Wave. Claude Chabrols Le Beau Serge (The Good Serge, 1959) and Les Cousins (The Cousins, 1959) were released, along with Francois Truffauts Les Quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows, 1959), Jean-Luc Godards A bout de souffle (Breathless, 1960) and Alain Resnais Hiroshima mon amour (Hiroshima my love, 1959). These films were the beginning of a revolution in French cinema. In the following years these directors were to follow up their debuts, while other young directors made their first features, in fact between 1959-63 over 170 French directors made their debut films. These films…show more content…
They were predominately studio bound with lavish sets, elaborate lighting, special effects and extravagant costume. This Cinema became known as the tradition of quality and dominated French Cinema output. It was a prestige cinema preocupied with impresssive content and continuity. During this time the French Cinema was quite healthy and shared the market about 50/50 with American cinema. Despite the relative stability of the French Film industry in the early and mid 50s there was a growing voice emanating from the emerging youth culture, for some new and fresh ideas. The pre war cine-club movement was revived and by 1954 there were over 200 clubs with 100,000 members. These clubs would show Hollywood classics as well as the latest releases. They would also show many of the re-released French films of the 30s from such directors as Jean Renoir and Jean Vigo and many of the Hollywood films that were never released during the occupation. It was from such clubs that the inspiration and driving force of many of the new wave directors came from. A young Francois Truffaut, along with Jean Luc-Godard and Jacques Rivette, some of the prominent future new wave directors and future writers for the Cahiers du Cinema, used to frequent Cinematheque Francais. This was a cine-club founded by Henri Langlois and devoted to screening the Classics. It was here

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