A History of the French New Wave Cinema (Wisconsin Studies in Film)

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The French New Wave cinema is arguably the most fascinating of all film movements, famous for its exuberance, daring, and avant-garde techniques. A History of the French New Wave Cinema offers a fresh look at the social, economic, and aesthetic mechanisms that shaped French film in the 1950s, as well as detailed studies of the most important New Wave movies of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Richard Neupert first tracks the precursors to New Wave cinema, showing how they provided blueprints for those who would follow. He then demonstrates that it was a core group of critics-turned-directors from the magazine Cahiers du Cinéma—especially François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and Jean-Luc Godard—who really revealed that filmmaking was changing forever. Later, their cohorts Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, and Pierre Kast continued in their own unique ways to expand the range and depth of the New Wave.

In an exciting new chapter, Neupert explores the subgroup of French film practice known as the Left Bank Group, which included directors such as Alain Resnais and Agnès Varda. With the addition of this new material and an updated conclusion, Neupert presents a comprehensive review of the stunning variety of movies to come out of this important era in filmmaking.

Product Details

  • Series: Wisconsin Studies in Film
  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 2 edition (February 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299217043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299217044
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Customer Reviews

Neupert’s Nouvelle Vague: Like having been there at the time

4 people found this helpful.
 on January 5, 2012
By Dr René Codoni
Neupert’s Nouvelle Vague: Like having been there at the time

Excellent overview of the nouvelle vague

15 people found this helpful.
 on December 5, 2007
By MarkusG
Very well written overview of the films that defined the french New Wave. The first chapter explains the historical, economic, political and cultural context (post-war France) and explains why there was a demand for a new kind of cinema. Remaining chapters presents directors like Melville, Truffaut, Godard, Varda, Resnais, Malle and some more with biographical info and film analysis. Each film analysis is excellent and made me go and buy the movies on DVD. Fortunately, almost every movie presented in the book has been released on high quality DVD from labels like Criterion, Masters of Cinema and BFI. Even early films like Melvilles Silence de la Mer is now available. To sum up: I can really recommend the book to everyone who wants to know more about French Cinema, and understand the New Wave in particular. It’s very well written and very clear on a subject that in other cases has been presented in an over-theorized way. Great job!

Great book

 on September 4, 2017
By Michael Smith
Very good book outlining the New WVe in a very pleasing way. With an additional section written about left bank directors. Only director I wish it added was Jacques Demy.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on April 6, 2015
By Marilyn Ayres-Salamon
Excellent study of French New Wave! Highly recommend it!


2 people found this helpful.
 on November 7, 2011
By cynicalgirl
I am a huge fan of French new wave so this book was like the icing on the cake, a perfect companion to all my dvds. Did I mention I do NOT speak French? Despite that little complication (I read subtitles very well) I love the movies and I love this book.

You won’t want to put this book down!

36 people found this helpful.
 on April 27, 2003
By Amazon Customer
Extremely well written, I really enjoy reading this book very much. The subject matter is no doubt fascinating, and the author, Mr. Neupert has done a wonderful job in presenting the history of the French New Wave Cinema. Not only does the author include a comprehensive political, cultural and commercial development that lead to the phenomenon, he also manages to present each influential New Wave directors, actors/actresses along with their important works in great detail. The book includes movie story lines in such detail that even if you have not seen the movie, you will appreciate and understand what the author is trying to convey. The author discusses issues on techniques, budgets and distributorship in French cinemas. Most interestingly, pictures from films discussed are liberally peppered throughout the book.

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