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Studying French Cinema$
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Sarah Perks, Isabelle Vanderschelden, and Andy Willis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733162

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733162.001.0001

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French New Wave and Godard in the 1960s

French New Wave and Godard in the 1960s

(p.47) Chapter Two: French New Wave and Godard in the 1960s
Studying French Cinema

Isabelle Vanderschelden

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Jean-Luc Godard, who is probably the most radical film-maker of the French New Wave, the one who really challenged the established post-war cinematic conventions to reinvent the film practices of the 1960s. To this day, Godard remains associated with taking post-war cinema by storm, and his early films, especially A bout de souffle/Breathless (1960) and Pierrot le fou (1965), have become undisputed landmarks in art cinema, constantly being reassessed, and remaining an inspiration for many directors. These two films are associated with a period of commercial success before Godard moved to even more radical forms of non-mainstream film-making. The two films act as cornerstones for the New Wave period: A bout de souffle is Godard's first feature film and could be read as a manifesto for the New Wave, while Pierrot le fou is regarded by many as the last work to be associated with New Wave style, as part of a transition period announcing the even more experimental projects that followed. The chapter discusses and compares these films with a view to illustrating key motifs and characteristics that have become part and parcel of Godard's early film signature.

Keywords:   Jean-Luc Godard, French New Wave, post-war cinema, French cinema, French art cinema, non-mainstream film-making, radical film-maker

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