We’re going to do something a little different in this episode. We’re going to get a practical crash course on The French New Wave. I know some of you are asking, “Why?” But the reason is simple. The French New Wave, in my opinion, offers a near-perfect role model for Christian filmmakers to advance our genre. Christian filmmakers have always felt themselves to be on the margins of cinema, and so did most of the French New Wave filmmakers. Christian filmmakers feel unsupported and believe they face an impossible task with impossible limitations. So did the French New Wave filmmakers.
But guess what? The filmmakers of the French New Wave revolutionized cinema. They told their stories their way with little intervention. Their stories and methods were completely unorthodox and scandalous. And they did so with meager budgets, industry resistance, and limited options for distribution — and to top it off, their films were made in the french language. And they created the most single most significant revolution in the history of cinema.
My guest in this episode has written one of the most lively, insightful and readable books on the French New Wave, titled A History of the French New Wave Cinema. He’s the Wheatley Professor of the Arts at the University of Georgia, teaching film history and theory. His name is Professor Richard Neupert.
To watch the films named in this movie (see list in show notes) I recommend you sign up for a free trial to the Criterion Channel where most of these films can be found. Amazon and iTunes also has many of these titles, and if you are a student or teacher or have a library card to a public library you can sign up to Kanopy and watch some of these films through their free service.
Richard Neupert’s Recommended Movies
The 400 Blows, by Francois Truffault
Shoot the Piano Player, by Francois Truffault
Jules & Jim, by Francois Truffault
Breathless, by Jean-Luc Godard
Cleo from 5 to 7, by Agnes Varda
Elevator to the Gallows, by Louis Malle
Hiroshima mon Amour, by Alain Renais
Le Bonheur, by Agnes Varda
What is Cinema Volume 1, by Andre Bazin