FRENCH NEW WAVE CINEMA DIRECTORS

JEAN-LUC GODARD


Jean-Luc Godard (born 3 December 1930) is a Franco-Swiss filmmaker and a leading member of the"French New Wave”. Known for stylistic innovations that challenged the conventions of Hollywood
cinema, he is universally recognized as the most audacious, radical, as well as the most influential of the Nouvelle Vague filmmakers. His work reflects a fervent knowledge of film history, a comprehensive understanding of existential and Marxist philosophy, and a profound insight into the fragility of human relationships.

Before directing, Godard was an ethnology student and a critic for Cahiers du cinéma, and his approach to filmmaking reflects his interest in how cinematic form intertwines with social reality. His groundbreaking debut feature,Breathless—his first and last mainstream success—is, of course, essential Godard: its strategy of merging high (Mozart) and low (American crime thrillers) culture has been mimicked by generations of filmmakers. As the sixties progressed, Godard’s output became increasingly radical, both aesthetically (A Woman Is a Woman, Contempt, Band of Outsiders) and politically (Masculin féminin, Pierrot le fou), until by 1968 he had forsworn commercial cinema altogether, forming a leftist filmmaking collective (the Dziga Vertov Group) and making such films as Tout va bien. Today Godard remains our greatest lyricist on historical trauma, religion, and the legacy of cinema.

JEAN-LUC GODARD BIOGRAPHY/BIOGRAPHY>>>


"A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end... but not necessarily in that order."
"Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second."
"American pictures usually have no subject, only a story. A pretty woman is not a subject. Julia Roberts doing this and that is not a subject."

Vivre sa vie, 1962
[My Life to Live]


 My Life to Live is a highly stylized and extraordinarily unformulgaic adaptation of a simple premise: a young woman, seeking the freedom and excitement of, what Federico Fellini calls La Dolce Vita, leaves her family to pursue an acting career, only to turn to a life of prostitution. From the opening sequence showing a detached, seemingly clinical exhibition of Anna Karina's face and profile, followed by an uneasy dialogue between Nana (Karina) and Paul (Andre-S. Labarthe) filmed at an angle showing the backs of their heads, we are introduced to the singular, iconoclastic vision that is Jean-Luc Godard. Stripped of expression and sentimentality, Godard, nevertheless, succeeds in creating a film that is visually stunning and full of pathos. We are drawn to Anna, not because of her seductive persona or compassionate actions, but because she ishumanity, lost and desperate, incapable of comprehending her misery nor articulating her pain (Note the parallel character of Antonio Ricci in Vittorio de Sica's The Bicycle Thief.
Godard's revolutionary camerawork transcends nouvelle vague novelty: it serves as a cinematic extension of Nana's soul. The awkward angles and long panning shots during Nana and Paul's conversations reveals the underlying tension and emotional distance between them. Deeply affected (understandably) by Maria Falconetti's performance in Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc, Nana's conversation proceeds in silent film intertitles - reflecting her own suffering and innate desire to achieve greatness and escape the banality of her sordid life. The seamless camerawork following Nana as she dances uninhibitedly around the billiard room feels intoxicating, almost mesmerizing - a fleeting glimpse of the few brief moments of pure joy she has ever known. My Life to Live is a truly remarkable film: a synthesis of artistic vision and moral tale, suffused with haunting melody, the ballad of a contemporary tragedy.

Amazon:Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc  Godard>

by David Sterritt & Richard Brody.




Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard, the first book by New Yorker writer Richard Brody, contains many revealing anecdotes about its eponymous main character. This is fitting, since Jean-Luc Godard is arguably film’s most anecdote-friendly director; many of his films consist of anecdotes and vignettes strung together with greater or lesser amounts of narrative adhesive, and he himself is the protagonist of more famous behind-the-scenes yarns than any other French New Wave auteur. One story related by Brody strikes me as particularly emblematic. Working on the science-fiction allegory Alphaville in 1965, Godard decided to shoot at night with a new kind of high-sensitivity film and virtually no artificial lighting, so that a shroud of semiobscurity would enhance the sense of a dystopian future already imminent in our own imperfect present. This didn’t sit well with cinematographer Raoul Coutard, who warned that the footage would turn out totally obscure, whereas the same effect could be safely achieved by using lights and stopping down the lens. Godard refused, citing the primacy of “the real” that he’d absorbed from Roberto Rossellini and other mentors. The result was three thousand meters of unusable film, but this didn’t stop Godard from sticking with his technique until the real intruded in another way: the crew went on strike over receiving daytime wages for nighttime work, forcing him to shoot before dark in rooms with blacked-out windows. Godard moaned that he was being “sabotaged,” but Coutard saw this as just another instance of his continual complaint that working with other people cramped his creativity. “He’d like to swallow the film,” Coutard said at the time, “and process it out his ass—that way he wouldn’t need anyone.”

JEAN-LUC GODARD CRITERION COLLECTION>>>



FRANÇOIS TRUFFAUT

 Francois Roland Truffaut (February 6, 1932 – October 21, 1984) was one of the founders of the French New Wave, and remains an icon of international cinema. In a career lasting just over a quarter of a century, he was screenwriter, director, producer and actor in over twenty-five films.
By the time he became a teenager, Truffaut was already a serious student of cinema, creating folders for his favorite filmmakers in which he filed away articles clipped
from newspapers and movie magazines. He impressed his friends with his many
feats of knowledge and was looked upon as a “living cinematheque.” 



AMAZON : HITCHCOCK (REVISED EDITION) BY FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT>>> 

FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT CRITERION COLLECTION>>>


"I  demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in between."

Les Quatre Cents Coups 

In collaboration with Marcel Moussey, an experienced writer, Truffaut wrote a screenplay based on his own childhood experiences that he called Les Quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows) . The episodic story follows the adventures of thirteen year old Antoine Doinel, through his trouble-making in school, his unhappy home life, various escapades he gets up to while playing truant, and finally his confinement and then escape from reform school.
 Francois Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" (1959) is one of the most intensely touching stories ever made about a young adolescent. Inspired by Truffaut's own early life, it shows a resourceful boy growing up in Paris and apparently dashing headlong into a life of crime. Adults see him as a troublemaker. We are allowed to share some of his private moments, as when he lights a candle before a little shrine to Balzac in his bedroom. The film's famous final shot, a zoom in to a freeze frame, shows him looking directly into the camera. He has just run away from a house of detention, and is on the beach, caught between land and water, between past and future. It is the first time he has seen the sea.
Roger Ebert