As the French New Wave begins its rejection of traditional rules, the change in the world of art and film as a new medium is still poorly understood. Artists seek different perspectives in the face of massive change. In the modern age, the internet is a meeting point for exploring all kinds of views. When film school becomes a mecca and achievement for your position to be recognized, you can create artworks in written or visual form. YouTube, WordPress, Instagram, Facebook, and more are new media platforms for arts and crafts. However, has this change also happened in the past?
Speaking of new mediums and movements, we do not always think of the French New Wave or, in French, La Nouvelle Vague, a French art film movement formed in the late 1950s. This movement was born out of a rejection of traditional cinema. Taking a fresh approach and modern tweaks in terms of editing, visuals, style, storytelling, and concept, the French New Wave and its rejection of traditional rules uses irony, meta-narrative, existential, no scripts, no direction, and without having to always focus on introductions, conflicts, and resolutions.
In the modern era, this movement has influenced many independent films. Directors like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese are two of the many directors inspired by the New Wave. From an arthouse perspective, this movement influences an interpretation’s narration, the aspect ratio as a new material in constructing a film concept, and a mumblecore. Likewise, the New Wave greatly influences the new medium with independent films by emphasizing innovation, transforming old works into new experiences, and not focusing on what is tradition, the tradition of the quality.
French New Wave is a movement of young people who would complain about the time’s film industry in contrast to the rejection of traditional rules. They are amazed by the new future, the new medium, and contemporary art in the art world. Besides France being the Mecca and the focal point of cinema, they launched this innovation of the lowest caste to dominate the French film scene. Europe, like the world, is affected by these young people. You can call it Japanese New Wave, Iranian New Wave, Paradox Cinema, Dogme 95, American New Wave, and many other movements. The rule launches a new game on a narrative containing thoughts, minimal actors, sufficient funds and immediately hits the streets. Tarantino is always referring to: you do not have to go to film school; just grab the camera and start performing right away.
Although always said to be the essence of the provocative aesthetic, raw, illogical, and full of domestic to cosmetic, the rejection of traditional rules of the French New Wave is the regeneration of all mediums. It does not only present an experimental mode of expression and production. New Wave is a refresh of the world order of art. This alternation of generations in French cinema began in post-war conditions. From a political and economic perspective, young people like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut have indirectly stolen opportunities. They preserve old traditions but also find an institution of cinema as a universal art.
In August 1957, L’Express magazine conducted a nationwide survey of audience characteristics. They collected opinions on the culture of everyday life in collaboration with the eight million or more of France’s national census bodies. The majority of them admitted to being dull with massive government promotions. The only flat, raw, and irregular French society image from the government idolizes the past heritage. An iconoclasm arises a classic contemporary culture that culminates in extended writing on cultural change and culture appreciation.
What changes are people expecting? A post-war situation primarily influenced the French New Wave and the government’s response to the status quo. They want to give the French film industry culture of seniority. As a result, they hardly offer rejuvenation opportunities, including young people full of creativity. They must first be senior assistants to enter into the world of cinema. The more “subordinates” they become, the greater their influence on the exhibition. However, it seldom happens that young people “argue.” The ideas of young people always tend to be eccentric, oppositional, and still destructive. This decision makes seniors more recognized by producers and industry. This point gave birth to an author, a term in which directors have full control over their works and films, although they are often universal and subjective.
The principle of auteurism first became a key where the destruction of cultures of antiquity began to develop. François Truffaut received funding from his in-laws, where he worked as a daily film producer. He produced a personal short film called the Mischief Makers in 1957. After receiving positive reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, Truffaut gained confidence in making the 400 Blows, his life experiences, and his thoughts on the celluloid tape. This story is a reflection of Truffaut’s childhood, in addition to being unhappy. Plunging many details on his childhood into the film’s script, Truffaut finally recruited and became a long collaboration, an amateur named Jean-Pierre Léaud, like Godard and Karina or Scorsese and De Niro. Like everyday vlogs and videos, this film takes place on Paris’s streets, where people are watching the crew with all kinds of stares.
Although the consequences for the film industry’s dominance are starting to thicken and decline with French films’ popularity as a new wave, it is not wrong that they are very typical. The three traditional arc structures of the theater (using the old one but modifying and creating the mark itself) are linear and slow, and many classical literatures references worldwide. Godard’s Pierrot le Fou also inspired Shinichirō Watanabe. Likewise, in Xavier Dolan’s Mommy, inspired by Truffaut’s Jules and Jim, the ratio shift transitions. This new wave flooded the French film industry and Hollywood, where Orson Welles also framed character by character to create a subplot and intertextuality simultaneously.
Whether people call Elvis Presley the father of rock n’ roll or James Dean and Clark Gable as the liturgy of the God of cinema, there are, of course, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg as icons of the older generation of the New Wave. Even if they are old, they only replace the position of the new icon. This phenomenon drew later in the 1960s, with the heyday of the classic Hollywood movie era or commonly referred to as the Golden Age of Hollywood. Informally, these young people receive a film education by watching hundreds of motion pictures and writing down their thoughts.
Discussing the formation of a new movement, they also accidentally started a debate on films and literary works. Does the movie contain pure literary works like the works of Victor Hugo or Shakespeare? In addition to creating a vision of authorism, rooted in the words auteur or author, they consistently produce films with a similar visual style and theme. The good consequence is that the originality is timeless. They accidentally influenced the Cannes Film Festival and other film festivals.
The French New Wave and its rejection of traditional rules is a new avenue for the film industry in terms of art and literature. However, when it comes to literature, Shakespeare is the most similar figure. It is the same with the New Wave, where they have Jean-Luc Godard. Likewise, he did not use cinema as a dramatization of personal experience. Instead, he presented an essay in visual and spoken form. In other words, he was a character who introduced the term “show it; do not tell.” Besides picking up favorite scenes, promotions, and movies, his ideas are inseparable from thousands of references and pop culture. In Breathless, he tells a criminal trying to escape the police, influenced by Truffaut’s ideas. In essence, Godard always played head-on but never told him what he wanted to say.
Godard developed an idea of many thinkers’ stories apart from his friends in a formalization and spontaneity. He would take to the streets and write briefly about what was happening in his film. It would not be wrong if Godard enjoyed storytelling and breaking the 4th wall. He also likes to improvise and prefers to go straight to the pitch rather than think normatively first. Besides submitting a proposal to the producer for a fee, the production brand made Godard’s films one of the cheapest films under French cinema’s average production cost in the 1950s.
Point of View
Along with the alumni rise of Cahiers du Cinéma as a new icon of French cinema, young directors have managed to distract audiences around the world. In addition to breaking the paradigm and hierarchy of limiting a film as nothing more than a work of entertainment, this glorious achievement practically made the media’s eyes focused on movement. Indeed, the debate over the new waves has not always disappeared from the change itself. That modern films change a new culture in such a way as to create a paradox between what a movie is and its purpose of introducing the artistic term; this phenomenon is influential in all fields. Market or producer demands need not restrict the director’s expression. The momentum of this wave opens up the continuity of space and time to the extent. Like literature, cinema is also a universalization from the creator’s point of view.
- Badley, L. (2005). Traditions in world cinema. Edinburgh University Press.
- Marie, M. (2002). French New Wave. Blackwell Publishers.
- Narboni, J., & Milne, T. (1972). Godard on Godard.
- Thompson, K., & Bordwell, D. (2003). Film history: An introduction (Vol. 205). New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Truffaut, F. (1954). A certain tendency of the French cinema (pp. 224-235). na.