Saturday, December 3, 2011

Film Theory 2 - French New Wave Cinema

Due to there being a strike, there was no actual lecture for this topic, so I could not make any notes as only the powerpoint was put up online for me to access.

During the 1950s and 1960s many 'new waves' took place within film. The French movement was the most influential and included French filmmakers such as: Jean-Luc Goddard, Franรงois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Jacques Rivette. These groups of filmmakers started off their career as film critics so they have a background in film theory. They know what is required to make a good film and what people look for to enjoy it.

The beginning of the 'new wave' started with Agnes Varda's 'La Pointe Courte' (1954). Varda created her films in black and white due to the fact that the film stock was now cheaper as colour was being used more often. She also used a mix of ordinary people as actors, as well as establish French actors. Her films would tend to be about ordinary life, nothing too dramatic. People started to respond to her film and from here it then developed further throughout Europe. During the 1960's in Italy Federico Fellini, Michaelangelo Antonioni and Pier Paolo Pasolini came on the scene, this was also the case for other countries too: Ingmar Bergman (Sweden), (return to France and Spain).

The French New Wave had a certain 'look' about it, it was distinguishable from other films. Filmmakers would shoot on location, using lightweight, hand-held cameras, sound and lighting equipment. Films were shot quickly which made them cheaper to produce. They had a casual, natural look about them using the available light and sound that was on location. The whole point of the French New Wave was to improvise and experiment with new things, the mobile camera for example was improvised and was an innovative idea at the time. The New Wave would also react against french film of the 1940's. They were against films shot in a studio, that were set in the past. They didn't want films that were contrived and over dramatised and that used trickery and special effects. They were against high level productions and the use of expensive equipment.

The editing style of the French New Wave differed from the norm, it did not conform to the editing rules of others, it had its own free style. They included jump cuts from one shot to another, their overall goal was to make the audience remember that they are watching a movie. They did not want them to get too absorbed into the film. The mood also tends to shift within the New Wave films, it can go from infatuation, romanticism and boredom and will be about death and betrayal.

Through looking at the French New Wave I have come to realise that the filmmakers were very innovative, they created new ways to do things that would either be cheaper to produce or make their job a lot easier. There was no need in spending loads of money and using expensive equipment when the job can be done for less.

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