Maybe the period right after the world war was the most revolutionary period in film history with the Italians having their neo-realism and the French having their new wave. French new wave was set miles apart from the traditional French cinema. It was bold, young, strong, sharp, and innovative and honestly a New Wave in every sense. In the ass’s some French film critics led this informal movement, which would in turn, inspire and change the way the world viewed cinema.
It can be called the renaissance of film-making. The directors of French New Wave were not set into any McCollum. Each had their own style, specialty and a thirst to make something unique. From the movies made during this era some may be forgotten but many are still viewed and highly recommended. The tides of this new wave reached to shores of all big film industries across the world. The direction styles were distinctive. The director did not follow a pre-determined script.
A lot of work was done impulsively. The locations weren’t artificially created. All real locations were used: the directors believed that it would help maintain the authenticity of the story. The same was the reason to use natural lighting instead of artificial lighting. The sounds in the films were natural and direct unlike the mainstream indirect sounds. All these factors contributed to making French New Wave movies extremely real-like.
Not Just this, the language was kept colloquial-no heavy dialogues, no larger-than life emotions venting through the words-everything was kept as day-to-day as possible. To add on to this colloquialism the actors were almost always non-professionals, which meant that their body language wouldn’t be conditioned, their expressions would be real and their ordinary appearance would make the characters look authentic. All these actors also resulted in the fact that the director did not need a horde of man force and could work conveniently with a select few people.
The low budgets that these films were given suited the directors Just fine because they anyway needed very basic things for their films: Real locations did not cost anything, no need for artificial lighting and non-professional actors did not need to be paid handsomely. The two much captioned adjectives that could be used for French New Wave could be Free and Original. Free in a way that nothing about the New Wave movies was confined to a form or a single method. Freestyle direction, camera handling, storytelling methods, etc were the identifying traits of French new wave.
The fact that many scenes did not use a stationary camera and instead used a handheld camera sets it apart. When it came to French new wave nothing was set in stone. The director acted on his intuition. Discontinuity of scenes is a major aspect of French new wave. It is very simple to notice it in any movie that belongs to it. The same went with the sound part of French New Wave films. The fact that these directors used direct sound sometimes gave the films a very documentary feel and also to add that there wasn’t a particular ay of narrating the story.
The 1960 French new wave film, ‘Breathless’ came and it did have a lot of elements which made it a very characteristic French New Wave film. The bold scenes of sexual appeal or the selfishness of who are supposedly lovers is very unprecedented. A simple story and yet with so much complexity- not in the plot- but in the way it’s made, it’s bold, vibrant and innovative. Even though now such movies are common, in the ass’s it was a revolution. French new wave might not be a formal and pre-planned movement but It happened at the right place and at the eight time and its effect to this day are seen all round the world.
The fact that the Indian Art-film industry holds a lot of influence from the French new wave is a good example as any. The stories of French new wave films were all different but what set them apart from the rest of the world was their difference in storytelling, even though this difference was not uniform in the French New Wave films. It has inspired a lot of big directors to make films which were the mark of excellence and will keep doing so. It showed that any story of any kind can always break rules and be shown in a different style.