On french new wave

thurs. 3/30/2017 11:58PM

One of my favorite aspects of French New Wave is the personality of the young characters. From the films I’ve seen so far, including Godard’s Band of Outsiders and Breathless, Cleo From 5 to 7, The Graduate, and Badlands, I’ve realized that the main characters (most often young adults figuring out who they are) do not care for the larger issues of society, but are rather concerned with themselves. Also – and this might have to do with the era in which these films were made – the female characters ultimately seem to depend on the male characters. They seek love, and their main source of happiness appears to be a successful romantic relationship.

What I also think characterizes new wave cinema the best is its unique way of storytelling, and direct rejection of the classic Hollywood-style narrative form. In the two films, spectators do follow the characters on an adventure of sorts, however there is no real sense of completion. I’ve been trained all these years to become accustomed to films coming “full circle,” however both films ended in a way that left me feeling uneasy, as if the characters weren’t entirely finished with their story (what does Patricia do now? Do Cleo and Antoine live happily ever after?). I believe the New Wave era was particularly groundbreaking because the films and directors put full trust in the spectators to make conclusions on their own and understand without being given everything themselves – this is why the New Wave films could at once make something mysterious and absurd yet familiar.


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