FILM150 -LCC - Godard

FILM150 -LCC - Godard - 1 Jean-Luc Godard and the New Wave...

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1 Jean-Luc Godard and the New Wave of French Cinema John-Luc Godard is one of the highly-recognizable figures of what is called the "Nouvelle Vague" or French new Wave of cinema. The term was coined by critics in the early 1950s to describe the emerging style of a group of French filmmakers. The trademarks of this movement are an affinity for the neo-realistic approach to filmmaking personified by Luis Buñuel ( Los Olvidados , 1950) and a distain for what had become the formulaic- Hollywood approach to filmmaking. The works of this ‘New Wave’ stand in sharp contrast to the films Hollywood was producing at the time, where Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford were churning out hit after hit. Hollywood films followed classical narrative structures, made quick concise cuts and were enthralled with the close-up or “star shot.” Contractedly, the Europeans with the continent’s rich history of theater heavily used the mise-en-shot. Wherein, the entire scene was captured by a single camera positioned at a greater distance from the principles with minimal or no cutting. Making a film in this style demanded that a director be a master of blocking, timing, and dialogue. Another area where the Europeans showed their mastery of blocking and shot planning was in the prevalent use of tracking shots. American films made use of this technique as well. However, it was primarily used to enter or exit a particular scene bowing to the theory that moving the camera in the middle of a scene could distract an audience and, perhaps more importantly it was time-consuming and expensive. The French directors tracked characters throughout a scene as a way to avoid cuts and add to the feeling of voyeurism created in many of the preeminent films of the time. It is important to note that although the European filmmakers classified as ‘New Wave’ sought to distance themselves from the conventions of Hollywood, the American film business was highly engrained in their films. Very few films were made in Europe in the 1930s and 40s, for obvious reasons. Thus American films were prevalent and influential for the rising generation. Perhaps no filmmaker of the period exemplifies the attitude of his peers toward America and American cinema better than Jean-Luc Godard in his films Contempt (1963) and Band of Outsiders (1964) . Godard was born to French parents who fled to Switzerland during the Nazi aggression. After completing high school he returned to Paris in 1948 to attend Lycée Rohmer and Sorbonne Colleges to study anthropology. At that time he became enthralled with cinema, as much of the French public did. From 1950 to 1958, Godard became a founding member of the film criticism journal Gazette du cinéma , wrote for the highly
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course ENGL 240 taught by Professor Manista during the Spring '07 term at Lansing.

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FILM150 -LCC - Godard - 1 Jean-Luc Godard and the New Wave...

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