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Getting to grips with the New Wave might thus understandably seem a daunting prospect for somebody wanting to discover for the first time what the movement is all about. With that in mind, this introduction will offer some suggestions as to where to start your investigations of New Wave cinema. This article is meant to act as an introduction to the context and a walk through of some of the basic ideas surrounding the New Wave, as well as an overview of the seminal "must see" films which best define the movement.
Based on Nelmes (1996) in 1959 which is the birth of the Nouvelle had a profound impact on the way cinema developed in France after the Second World War and on the kinds of film made in that country. Despite this, The Nouvelle Vague represented a significant break with the tradition de qualite and brought into filmmaking a large number of younger directors. Those director who came to prominence through the New Wave and who have remained major names in the pantheon of European “auteur” directors include Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, Alain Resnais, Chris Marker and Agnes Varda.
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The phrase “New Wave” (Ia Nouvelle Vague) refers to a group of film-makers who between the end of the 1950s and early to mid-1960s in France, momentarily transformed French cinema and had a great impact on film-makers throughout the world. Those directors who came to prominence through the New Wave and who have remained major names in the pantheon of European “auteur” director include Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and so on. The term New Wave was coined by a journalist named Francoise Giroud who wrote a series of article on French youth for the weekly news magazine L’Express.(Nelmes ,1996)
After the occupation by Nazi, the American cinema is return back to screen.This exposure to Hollywood films was a formative influence on the young critics who would become the director of the New Wave in the late 1950s.For them,America film was more vital,more varied and considerably more exciting than the postwar productions of the French industry which they derided as le cinema de papa. . (Nelmes, 1996)
A Bout de Soufflé (Breathless) (Godard, 1960)
A group of directors, Truffaut, Godart, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette and Rohmer who had all worked as critics for Cahiers du cinema in the 1950s had a habit of attacking the most artistically respected French filmmaker of the day. Writing criticism didn’t satisfy these young men. They itched to make movies by borrowed money .At the end of the decade, they began to make films. Their talent was recognized when Truffaut’s first feature film, Les Quatre Cent Coups was awarded the critics prized at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival and the Nouvelle Vague quickly became a marketing slogan in the pro-Gaullist press to promote the idea that with the change of regime in 1958 France had been regenerated and rejuvenated. (Forbes, 1998)
Besides that, Rivette filmed Paris nous Appartient (Paris belong to us), Godard made A Bout de soufflé (Breathless), Chabrol made his second feature Les Cousins .The novelty and youthful vigor of these directors led journalists to nickname them La nouvelle vague-the New Wave. Their output was staggering, the five central directors made 32 feature films between 1959 and 1966.Godard and Chabrol made 11 apiece. (Bordwell, 2008)
Claude Chabrol’s Les bonnes femmes (1960).
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