Offering profiles of principal stars such as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, and Brigitte Bardot as well as reviews and analysis of all the major films in the movement, this is the perfect primer to the group of French filmmakers who have become synonymous with effortless style and urban cool
The directors of the French New Wave were the original film geeks—a collection of celluloid-crazed cinéphiles with a background in film criticism and a love for American auteurs. Having spent countless hours slumped in Parisian cinémathèques, they armed themselves with handheld cameras, rejected conventions, and successfully moved movies out of the studios and on to the streets at the end of the 1950s. By the mid-1960s, the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Claude Chabrol had changed the rules of filmmaking forever, but the movement as such was over. During these key years, the New Wave directors employed experimental techniques to achieve a fresh and invigorating new style of cinema. Borrowing liberally from the varied traditions of film noir, musicals, and science fiction, they released a string of innovative and influential pictures, including the classics Le Beau Serge, Jules et Jim, and A Bout de Souffle. An introductory essay examines the social context of the movement in France as well as the directors' considerable influence on later generations of filmmakers across the globe. A handy multimedia reference guide at the end of the book points the way towards further New Wave resources.