Nouvelle vague

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French New Wave
Chris Wiegand

This edition published in July 2005 by Pocket Essentials P.O.Box 394, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 1XJ

Distributed in the USA by Trafalgar Square Publishing, P.O. Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret,Vermont 05053

© Chris Wiegand 2005

The right of Chris Wiegand to be identified as author of this work hasbeen asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written permission of the publishers.

Any person who does any unauthorised act inrelation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN 1 904048 44 7

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

Typeset by Avocet Typeset, Chilton, Aylesbury, Bucks Printed and bound in Great Britain by Cox & Wyman, Reading

Thanks to Paul Duncan for providing unlimitededitorial guidance and enthusiasm. Further assistance came from Shannon Attaway, Mylene Bradfield, Louise Cooper, Julia Dance, Lisa DeBell,Alexis Durrant, Lizzie Frith, Maria Kilcoyne, Steve Lewis, Wade Major, Ion Mills, Luke Morris, Gary Naseby, Matt Price, Jill Reading, Jessica Simon, James Spackman and Claire Watts. Merci à tous!

Making Waves: An Introduction Birth of the Cool EtDieu Créa la Femme, Les Mistons, Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud, Le Beau Serge, Les Amants, Les Cousins, Le Signe du Lion 9 31

Cannes ’59 56 Les Quatre Cents Coups, Hiroshima Mon Amour Guns, Girls and Gauloises A Bout de Souffle,Tirez Sur le Pianiste Les Femmes Zazie Dans le Métro, Les Bonnes Femmes, Lola, Jules et Jim And Godard Created Karina, then Recreated Bardot Une Femme est Une Femme,Vivre saVie, Le Mépris, Bande à Part 65




Songs, Thrills and a Town Called Alphaville La Peau Douce, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Alphaville, Pierrot le Fou Further Viewing A guide to other New Wave-related films Reference Material Recommended books and websites




Making Waves: An Introduction
Beautiful women. Suave leading men. Existential angst. Blackand white figures in Parisian cafés. Cigarette smoke. Lots of it. The world of French cinema conjures up a hundred often-parodied clichés for today’s viewer and the films of the New Wave era supply their own set of distinctive images. Jean Seberg walking down the Champs Elysées selling the New York Herald Tribune. The young JeanPierre Léaud running through the streets of Paris with a stolentypewriter. Charles Aznavour playing honkytonk piano in a run-down café. Anna Karina and JeanClaude Brialy brushing off their feet before going to sleep. Eddie Constantine, decked out in gumshoe hat and mac, arriving at the sinister town of Alphaville. Jean-Paul Belmondo wrapping dynamite around his painted face. Brigitte Bardot lying naked in a bedroom asking Michel Piccoli what he thinks of her rear.Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner and Henri Serre cycling through the countryside.The list is endless. These images are some of the things that the New Wave means to me, yet decades after the term was coined in L’Express magazine, critics continue to argue over its precise meaning. Some confine the New Wave to a certain period of time, others to particular directors.


Many believe thatthe film-makers who wrote for the influential journal Cahiers du Cinéma are the only ones we can truly describe as belonging to the New Wave. Among the directors believed at one time or another to be related to the movement are: Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, Alain Resnais, Louis Malle, Roger Vadim, Jacques Demy, Agnès Varda, Chris Marker, Jean...
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