French New Wave – 162 MC Research

300px-Breathless-Screenshot-01The Wikipedia definition of French New Wave is:

“French New Wave was a blanket term coined by critics for a group of French filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s, influenced by Italian Neo-realism and classical Hollywood cinema. Although never a formally organized movement, the New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of the literary period pieces being made in France and written by novelists, their spirit of youthful iconoclasm, the desire to shoot more current social issues on location, and their intention of experimenting with the film form.”

This video describes the editing styles used in french new wave films, and how they broke the boundaries of editing at the time.

I’ve looked at various websites and other videos about French New Wave, and in a nutshell, the group of filmmakers simply chose not to conform to the editing ‘rules’ of Hollywood. The editing would be discontinuous and remind the audience that they are watching a film, and they would insert material that is unrelated to the story. Godard used a jump cut where two shots of the same subject would be cut together showing a visible jump. Interestingly the use of real time was used quite often; this is something that could work quite well for our film if a few cuts are made as the story could easily be manipulated so the characters are only stuck in the lift together for the duration of the 6 or 7 minute film. (st georges film studies blog

French New Wave introduced a very different type of film editing, with long takes that contained visible jump cuts (originally used to shorten the length of A Bout de Souffle when Godard was told it was too long) and shots that went beyond the common 180 degree axis.

I looked on Youtube at some scenes from A Bout de Souffle for examples, and this scene showcases some of the editing techniques used, where the jump cuts are visible:

After researching I have put together a rough cut of our film in French New Wave style, focusing on the idea of visible jump cuts. a-bout-de-souffleThere are many things about the rough cut that I’d like to change. Through research and watching scenes from examples of French New Wave films I’ve found that the plot plays out quite slowly, however in my rough cut it’s very quick. Putting the rough cut together using my new knowledge of French New Wave has helped me to see where I need to improve the editing to make it conform more to the new wave style.

the man inside french new wave rough cut from Natasha Harmer on Vimeo.


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