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A New Wave Breaks Final Freeze Frame of Truffaut's The 400 Blows, Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel New Cinema / Young Cinema • During the period 1958-67, many "new wave" & "new cinema" movements appear. • These films and movements are strongly youth-oriented, and many of the directors are very young. • Thus sometimes called "Young Cinema": • Often opposed to "Papa's Cinema" or "Tradition of Quality" films, which Truffaut attacks as un-cinematic. Youth Culture / Young Cinema • Rise of New or Young Cinema parallels the development of Youth Culture (The "Young Generation") in many countries. • Young generation of 1960s (not just in US) saw themselves breaking with the past, rebelling against their parents' generation. • Anti-establishment and counter-cultural attitudes, political involvement (anti-Vietnam War), sexual liberation, new styles of music, fashion, films. Youth Culture / Young Cinema • At a pragmatic level: as film attendance declines with rise of multiple leisure activities and TV (during 1950s), film producers increasingly target films to young urban and suburban audiences. • Youth culture as new market for new, "independent" style of films, internationally. • Thompson & Bordwell: "Youth culture accelerated the internationalizing of film culture." New Cinemas • Although we will focus on the French New Wave today, the "new cinema" phenomenon extended to many other countries and filmmakers: • Cinema Nôvo in Brazil • Japanese New Cinema • The New German Cinema • New Italian Cinema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Sergio Leone, as well as the later, 1960s films of Fellini and Antonioni) • British "Kitchen Sink" Cinema • Eastern Europe: especially Poland, Czechslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Hungary. The French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) • Of these new cinema movements, French New Wave is especially influential. • Note on Textbook: Thompson & Bordwell make distinction between the New Wave filmmakers and the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) group of filmmakers. • But often considered together (as T & B themselves do in their chronology box). The French New Wave • New Wave brought not only youthful, anti-establishment ideas to their films, but also new ideas about film style. • Period of experimentation, breaking old rules of style, editing, narrative. • Stories were episodic; actions and events seemed almost random at times. Godard divides films into sections, puts in quotations. • Great students of films: draw both from Neorealist, long take films championed by film critic André Bazin and from montage style films (Soviet Montage: Eisenstein & Vertov). • New Cinemas made possible by new lightweight cameras & tape recorders, which allowed location shooting and much cheaper films. Major Directors • Probably the two most famous/influential directors were François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, both former Cahiers critics, with Alain Resnais (Left Bank) also considered very important. • But many other important directors in group: Agnès Varda, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette. • Usually, in film classes, either Truffaut's The 400 Blows (1959) or Godard's Breathless (1960) will be shown to illustrate the French New Wave. (Or sometimes, Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour ). • Masculine-Feminine is a later film (1966) that also illustrates growing shift during 1960s: from "art" cinema to more political cinema. Masculine-Feminine • Mainly a film about youth culture/consumer culture. • But can see Godard's interest in politics here. • As Godard says: it's about The Children of Marx and Coca-Cola. • As with most Godard films, many Masculine-Feminine (1966) "in-jokes" and Jean-Luc Godard references. Pictured: Jean-Pierre Léaud & Chantal Goya M-F : In 15 Acts 1. Godard divides film into 15 Numbered Sections ("a film in 15 Precise Acts") of varying lengths. 2. But then he breaks his own system by numbering one section 4A and leaving some out. 3. As always with Godard, many references to other films, literature, philosophy, popular culture. 4. Most obvious reference: casting Jean-Pierre Léaud as Paul. 4A. Léaud had at 14 played lead character Antoine Doinel in Truffaut's The 400 Blows (1959). 5. When Paul suddenly says "What, your lordship, I have no old mother?" it is a line from Jean Renoir's famed 1939 film The Rules of the Game. M-F 6. The film within a film that they see is a parody of Ingmar Bergman's 1963 film The Silence (shot by Godard in Sweden). 7. Uncredited appearance by French movie star Brigitte Bardot, who had starred in Godard's Contempt (1963). 8. The scene with two black men and white woman on the subway is a scene from black playwright LeRoi Jones' (later Amiri Baraka) play Dutchman. 9. One of the black men in this scene is African filmmaker Med Hondo. 10. References are made in the film to James Bond, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and the Pepsi Generation. M-F 11. Godard fills the film with quotations, sometimes spoken by characters, sometimes in voiceover, sometimes in block print on the screen. 12. Godard frequently uses an interview format in discussions between male and female characters. In these segments, the characters are never on screen at the same time. 13. Godard seems to link women to consumer culture & casual sexuality, but he also shows male characters as hopelessly naïve and hapless. 14. Chantal Goya plays Madeleine, who wants to be a pop singer; Goya was already a famous pop singer. 15. Paul's friend Robert jokes that there is nothing in the word "feminin," but the end of film reveals that "FIN" (the end) is within the word.
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