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Posted on August 15, 2019

A Look At The French New Wave Film Movement During The 1960s

The French New Wave film movement is considered one of the most innovative film movements over the last 100 years. New Wave filmmakers in the 1960s were not happy with the traditional film conventions throughout France. But the movement really has its roots in the 1950s…


During the 1950s, French film directors Francois Truffaut, Eric Rohmer, and Jacques Rivette began to brainstorm new concepts. Film critic Andrew Sarris’ Auteur Theory was also cited as an inspiration for the New Wave Movement. Sarris’ Auteur Theory says that the director is the author of their movie and that they should seek to put their own personal style into the film.

The French New Wave Movement was popular among the youth. Many of the films were appealing to younger people, as they centered on topics such as fashion, urban city life, and partying. During the time period, France was considered stagnant, both politically and financially. Many classical films were made, which fans of the New Wave criticized as being immune from criticism.

Characteristics Of French New Wave Films

Many of the New Wave movies were produced in a documentary style. Filmmakers used portable equipment that was very easy to set up. Many of the films featured both objective and subjective realism. Some of the featured filming techniques showcased were long takes and fragmented editing. Many viewers were captivated by the innovative methods of expression in these films.

Many of the movies were based on existential themes. The topics were discussed using irony and sarcasm. There were also multiple changes of scenery and unique shots based on new camera movements. Often times, the camera was used to captivate the audience by playing with their expectations. Some filmmakers were determined to leave the audience in a state of shock and awe.

The budget for many of these films was also unique. Many filmmakers used low budget alternatives to regular production methods. Some of the movies were shot in a small area, and many directors relied on their friends to make up the rest of the cast. With a tight budget, directors had to be creative with the equipment that was used in the films.

Famous New Wave Films

Breathless (1960)
“Breathless” is directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The movie is based on the relationship between a criminal and his girlfriend. Breathless received great reviews for its unique use of jump cuts.

Weekend (1967)

Another Jean-Luc Godard film, the movie centers on a married couple going on a road trip to visit the wife’s parents with the intention of securing her inheritance.

Les Bonnes Femmes (1960)
“Les Bonnes Femmes” is directed by Claude Chabrol. The movie is based on the love lives of four women in Paris.

About Le Manhattan Bistro

Now that you’ve learned about some French New Wave movies and the origins of the genre, you might be in the mood for some fantastic French cuisine. Stop into Le Manhattan Bistro in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Our restaurant offers customers an amazing dining experience. Some of the featured menu items include; Duck Confit, Beef Bourguignon, and La Bouillabaisse.

And don’t forget, every Monday night is French Movie Night for only $24.95 per person! So reserve your table today!