It’s been my desire to share a small note about the vocabulary been used as ‘new wave’ or ‘nouelle vague’, which refers to the French style of Cinema making of 50’s and 60’s era.
This new wave traditionally is influenced from Italian Neorealism and the classic cinema of Hollywood during its Golden Age. New-Wave filmmakers were typically young, rejecting the classical cinema and genre, arty film, and liked to deal with topics such as socio-political mayhem, radical editing and visual styles, and breaks in the narrative.
The new wave style began after World War II, when Europe was being rebuilt and cinema, much like everything else, was in the midst of a turbulent upheaval. Most of the old school, popular directors had fled France during German occupation and a new generation of filmmakers, who had lived through the war and were now very disillusioned. These directors rejected montage-style filmmaking with longer, narrative shots as well as believed that films were personal and believed in the “author theory,” that a film should be recognized as the work of director, who owned the narrative.
The movement began with a handful of critics, such as François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and André Bazin, who together helped develop the film theory magazine Les cahiers du cinéma. These critics believed in the director as the “author” or “narrator” of a film and influenced American filmmakers such as John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock and Nicholas Ray in their style of filmmaking. The first new wave movie is 1958’s Le Beau Serge, directed by Claude Chabrol, which deals with a young man returning home to find out his hometown has become a depressing place. Claude Chabrol, which deals with a young man returning home to find out his hometown has become a depressing place.
Some of the important films from the era are The 400 Blows by François Truffaut, who is basically the French Woody Allen. This film was his triumphant return after being banned from the Cannes Film Festival for previously shocking films. The film is about a well-off boy who becomes a delinquent and runs away, living on the streets of Paris. Truffaut’s style can be linked to many of the films by Quentin Tarantino.
Another important film was Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, which is one of the most famous films of the movement. The film, about a thug who kills a police officer and is turned in by his seductive American journalist girlfriend. Allow with The 400 Blows, this film was a major blockbuster and brought the world’s attention to the movement.
Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima, Mon Amour is another influential early new wave film, a backwards and forward narrative of memories that is deliciously confusing. The film is graphic, dealing with a French actress experience in occupied France while a Japanese engineer must overcome witnessing Hiroshima’s bombing. The film has no smooth narrative, which makes it hard for those who are used to traditional film narratives. Resnais was a member of the Left Bank or Rive Gauche style of new wave, which was more experimental and bohemian.
Among Indian Film Directors- the art based parallel cinema owed too much to numerous foreign influences like French new wave and Avant-Garde cinema movements. The European inspirations are more of French and Italian cinema that had a sway on the likes of Bimal Roy, Chetan Anand, Ritwik Ghatak, Vijay Anand, Shyam Benegal and Satyajit Ray. Undoubtedly Satyajit Ray was the most affluent among the parallel cinema directors and
In South India, the parallel cinema was well flourished in Kerala. Malayalam movie makers like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, and M. T. Vasudevan Nair were quite successful. Starting the 1970s, Kannada film-makers from Karnataka state produced a string of solemn film makers from Karanth, Girish Karnad, Kasarvalli, Sathyu and some of other directors from Tamil and Telugu regional such as Balachander, Bharathiraja, Balu Mahendra, Siddalingaiah, Dr.K.Vishwanath, and Mani Ratnam have achieved fair amount of success at the box-office balancing elements of these influence with commercial elements.
For the rest of the World, The French New Wave has continued to influence filmmaking in Hollywood, directors and actors such as Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and films such as Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, and most of modern American independent film. Britain also has its own new wave film culture. There is also a Czech New Wave, which depicts the struggles of living in a Communist and post-communist country, and Iranian New Wave, which serves as a political voice against the current theocratic dictatorship. There are also Hong Kong New Wave, Japanese new wave, Cinema Novo in Latin America, Romanian New Wave, and Australian New Wave.
The reach of French new wave always seems to influence country’s going through social or political upheaval and who are using film as a way to respond to the culture at large. It is sort of the teenage, rebellious phase that all cinemas must go through in order to find its voice and its heart.