French New Wave Essay

1564 words - 6 pages

P a g e | 1 of 5
FTV 209 Assessment 1
Laura Williams 207852
How has French New Wave film makers impacted on current film and
television today?
Laura Williams
Screen History
FTV 209

P a g e | 2 of 5
FTV 209 Assessment 1
Laura Williams 207852
French New Wave Cinema started out as a bizarre spectacle, rejecting traditional
linear storytelling and creating a new appearance to films. A group of French film
critics working for a magazine called Cahiers di Cinéma decided to make films more
about the techniques of film, rather than the content or story line. Directors still use
this style a lot in modern films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Pulp
Fiction and more. But to understand how it is used you must firstly understand what
this style is and what it consists of.
The French New Wave (FNW) style allows you to make your film in a "natural" way,
using hand held cameras, creating a documentary style, and cheaply make camera
accessories like a shopping trolley as a dolly track. FNW films had low budgets and
the originals (Breathless 1959, Jean Luc Godard) were often just filmed in the
director's friend's apartment. The actors were not professional actors, just friends of
the director and random people. If they happened to be actors then they would be
new and fresh faced so nobody knew who they were yet. It didn't matter if the acting
was poor because FNW films were more about the making of the film rather than the
telling of a story. Jump cuts were used to disguise mistakes like poor acting but then
they became a huge part of the artistic foundations of FNW. Shots were long and
continuous, with little to no editing. Sound was preferred to be recorded on set and
not back in a studio so everything was as natural as possible, and atmosphere noise
was all real. Lighting was simple and natural, used stylistically to set the tone and
mood. Most FNW films were shot on location and didn't believe in building a fake set.
Directors liked to constantly disassociate the audience with the characters and the
story line to keep reminding them that they were watching a film, and to show that
films aren't reality, just a fabricated view of it.
So is FNW still relevant and used today? Here are some examples of how FNW is
certainly still used and how the style still influences many directors in the modern
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) was directed by Michel Gondry, who
has said that he was influenced by French New Wave cinema when he directed this
movie and there are a lot of instances when we can see this is true. Many of the
scenes were unrehearsed, which means that the actors didn't get a change to act
together before the camera started rolling. They were told to just begin and the
scene would play out naturally and undirected in one constant shot. Much of the film
was shot with a hand held camera which immerses the audience into the story,
making them feel like they were there. They even used a wheel chair as a dolly in...

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