La Nouvelle Vague

“La Nouvelle Vague” (La No-Vell Vag), French for “The New Wave”, a movement of artistic filmmakers of the late 50’s and the 1960’s where the name was coined by critics to dawn upon such artists.  New Wave cinema is a European art form that desired to shoot more social issues on location with little equipment in an independent way to break from the conservative paradigm created by Hollywood.  This is where “indie filmmaking” really got its legs and where filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez have to thank for their careers.

Jean-Luc Godard (Shjawn-Luke Go-Dard) was apart of this movement and his seventh film Bande à part is considered a classic, one of the pioneering films that make this style of filmmaking what it is today.  This era, in large part due to this film, has spawned a ripple effect of fruitful endeavors.    

For starters and just to name a few off the top of my head, the name of Tarantino’s production company which he’s created scenes of his famous Pulp Fiction that pay tribute Godard’s film.  Just think of any artsy filmmaker today, Linklater, Eastwood, Aronofsky, PTA, they all have this era to thank for their style of creation.  Even a French band has taken the name of The New Wave and has given us a proper reflection of how beneficial this “wave” of inspiration has been to cinema as a medium and outlet of expression to teach and to help us all live better lives. 

Italian Neorealism (The Golden Age of Italian Cinema), Film Noir, and even some aspects of classical Hollywood cinema all played a part in birthing this low budget style of filmmaking to help achieve the essentials of the art form in a more comfortable and contemporary form of production.  Filmmakers like Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, John Ford, and the true Godfather of cinema, Alfred Hitchcock, who perfected this low budget style of filmmaking while working in the conservative paradigm, all played a part in the molding and sculpting of the new wave which heavily influenced French cinema. 

Some of the pioneers of this era (Fraçois Truffaut, Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, to name a few) were critics for the famous film magazine “Cahiers du cinema” and laid the groundwork for this era, which would become revolutionary. A lot of terminology and tactics really became abundant and have resonated throughout time, such as “the jump cut” or “breaking the fourth wall”.  A jump cut being a transition in the editing to quickly show the elapse of time or to “jump” to the next scene/shot immediately; and when the character addresses the audience or the camera directly to convey information is a breaking the fourth wall. 

Jean-Luc Godard's New Wave film À bout de soufflé (Out of Breath), 1960. 
A lot of tactics, styles, and newly discovered creations of the industry play heavily in part to the French revolution.  But there are so many other new waves of innovation that play a part in piecing together the circle that have brought us the intriguing, intellectual, and helpful entertainment over the decades.  There’s the Italian New Wave, the British New Wave, Australian, Japanese, even an American/New Hollywood Wave that have all have a say in the matter to name a few.  Check some of these out and see what inspires you to do well in your life!

So later this year during Oscar season and you’re watching some of the small, artsy, indie films, even the bigger indie films, that are getting the attention of The Academy, gaining momentum and creating “buzz”, remember where they came from. 

Now you know. 

Source: New Wave

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