How the New Wave influenced the world

How the New Wave influenced the world

In the 1960s, in France, a new generation of directors decided to shake up the rules of the 7th art. This is the “New Wave”. This Monday evening, Arte is broadcasting “Elevator for the Scaffold ” by Louis Malle, considered one of the first feature films of this movement. This is the opportunity for Proximus Pickx to return to this turning point in French cinema.

How the new wave influenced the world© AGEFOTOSTOCK

At the end of the 1950s, a series of young filmmakers were fed up with the academicism of French cinema, and the gap between reality and what is shown on screen. They want more naturalness and less aestheticism. Among these directors, we find François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette, Agnès Varda , and others. You can watch free movies online and find the choices in films.

All are passionate about cinemas, and most are movie critics. But they also go behind the camera, to satisfy their thirst for freedom. No more clean studios, star actors, fictionalized scenarios: the new wave is interested in reality, in life, in its simplest form. But if all are animated by the same nonconformist spirit, each director adopts his own style. La Nouvelle Vague is a movement, not a film school.

A new genre

Young filmmakers have little experience and few means. The shooting conditions (often outdoors) are rudimentary, the dialogues are simple and the actors are strangers. But the New Wave breaks the codes and the public seems to be seduced by this new genre with an amateur character.

The first successes were not long in coming. Films like “Les Quatre Cents Coups” by François Truffaut, “Breathless “by Jean-Luc Godard or”  Ma nuit chez Maud  ” by Eric Rohmer are acclaimed. New faces are emerging such as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Claude Brialy or Bernadette Lafond. They embody young and ordinary characters, often idle, in search of independence and freed from conventions. A real breath of fresh and rebellious air then blows on the big screen.

Global influence

If the New Wave ran out of steam at the end of the 60s, it still upset the world of the 7th art forever. The public has discovered another style of cinema, which will continue to endure alongside classic genres, even to influence them.

But the movement has crossed borders. French films, and the message conveyed by their authors, have aroused great interest abroad. In Eastern Europe, new directors are emerging, such as the Poles Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski, who do not hesitate to break the codes of cinema in their country. La Nouvelle Vague, and in particular the works of Jean-Luc Godard (photo), have also inspired Cinema Novo in Brazil , which advocates a return to the real, to the social, to the human.

The echoes of the new wave will even carry as far as Asia, and Japan. Directors will turn to more popular and engaged films, with the desire to break out of the conventions of classic Japanese cinema. We will even call them the “Japanese New Wave”, in reference to their French inspirers.

Still today

The influence of the new wave can still be seen today. The American directors Brian De Palma or Quentin Tarantino affirmed to be followers of Jean-Luc Godard, while James Gray admired the work of Chabrol.  As we can see, the French filmmakers of the 1950s and 1960s clearly inspired cinema for decades to come.