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#1 Jesse Cairnie

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 03:06 AM

Today I met with a director about her next project and she wants to shoot it "French New Wave"..

From our chat I learned that this "New Wave" was basically "French Indie Film"..

So my question is.. is there a "New Wave Technique"?..

I mean, we chatted about its mostly hand held with almost all available light and really long takes, but I feel like im missing something here as thats EXACTLY how I shot "my first indie" with me and my buddies in the streets of Seattle..

There must be more to it.. any info will be greatly appreciated.. I mean I can google it all day long.. but some real insight would be great..

Cheers!
Jesse

Edited by Jesse Cairnie, 04 October 2007 - 03:10 AM.

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 04:09 AM

http://en.wikipedia....French_New_Wave
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#3 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 04:10 AM

Something that comes to mind is also shot on location (though not strictly adhered to) and shot on the streets amongst the public. I think an indie spirit with light compact equipment is definitely in the right vein. Although a lot of the films are clearly not only shot with available light. There are some great films which you can draw inspiration from.
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#4 Bill Totolo

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 05:48 AM

Maybe she wants to use a Cameflex.

Okay seriously, I think the term they use to describe that style of shooting is reportage, or what we think of as documentary: shooting handheld, on location. Many shots were spontaneous and completed in one take. And, contrary to belief, many of those films were lit. Coutard and others experimented with a lot of ceiling bounce mixed with hard light.

You can reference films like: Jules et Jim; Bande a part; and A bout de souffle.

The American Indie movement borrowed heavily from the Nouvelle Vague, that may be why it sounds familiar to you.
I also feel the Dogme '95 movement embraced this aesthetic as well.

You should definitely acquaint yourself with the Cashiers du Cinema magazine articles and the Auteur theory. Two key elements of the period.

Keep us posted.
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#5 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 02:32 PM

That's true: Many of them were lit but with minimal equipment. They did a lot of dolly moves using cars with partially deflated tires, etc.
John Cassavettes was very influenced by the French New Wave.
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#6 Jesse Cairnie

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 05:28 PM

OK..

John Cassavettes, Coutard, Jules et Jim, Bande a part, A bout de souffle, Dogme '95, Cashiers du Cinema magazine articles and Auteur theory

That should set me on the right track.. Thank You

Also is it true that "French New Wave" was all in B&W.. was it 8 or 16mm? 35 seems too "Un-New Wave"..

Cheers!
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#7 Bill Totolo

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 07:35 PM

OK..

John Cassavettes, Coutard, Jules et Jim, Bande a part, A bout de souffle, Dogme '95, Cashiers du Cinema magazine articles and Auteur theory

That should set me on the right track.. Thank You

Also is it true that "French New Wave" was all in B&W.. was it 8 or 16mm? 35 seems too "Un-New Wave"..

Cheers!



There were color films in the New Wave, you can reference Godard's "Weekend" for example. 35mm was pretty much what Coutard was shooting in his Cameflex. I don't know if any were shot on 16.

I read Michael's link to Wikipedia. Lot of good information there.
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#8 Ram Shani

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 01:41 AM

they use CinemaScope for framing

on major DP was the genius Raoul coutard AFC

" COUTARD CAUTIONS THAT THE DECEPTIVE SIMPLICITY OF BREATHLESS MISLED SOME FILM-MAKERS "after jean-luc did his film,a lot of pepole thought that you could do anything with anyone and come out with a film. so there were a lot of cinematic experiments that turned out to be catastrophes. these imitators were forgetting that jean-luc was not just a guy with talent, he was a guy with genius"


about lighting

" i would have preferred to do rembrandt lighting rather then the low-contrast stuff i did in many of the early films. at the same time, i was satisfied by the way i managed the lighting. given the limited time and means, i got results that weren't too bad"
"the masterful look of jules and jim was much more complex becuse we had more time and more money. also francois had a shooting list, so it was actually possibel to prepare the lighting ahead of time"


" if you have a choice, you shuold always sacrifice the time you would use to light for the sake of the director, assuming that the director is going to use that time well. NO ONE WILL EVER GO SEE A FILM BECAUSE THE CINEMATOGRAPHY IS MAGNIFIQU. the best case is when , as with breathless, you come out of the film overwhelmed, and you don't singel out the directing, the acting, or the cinemtography"
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#9 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 03:05 AM

If anyone can read French, Raoul Coutard's autobiography is a very interesting read.
It is called:" L'impériale de Van Su. Comment je suis entré dans le cinema en dégustant une soupe chinoise"
This roughly translates to "How I got started in the movies by enjoying a Chinese soup.
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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 08:35 PM

You're not missing a thing-Hand held using ambient light and not worrying to much if the shots will cut together without creating jump cuts. watch Godard's Breathless and you'll learn all you need to know. B) PS-French New Wave technique is called cinema-verite.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 07 October 2007 - 08:39 PM.

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#11 Michael Palzkill

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 10:55 PM

You should also look into Henri Decae. He was cinematographer on a few "pre" new wave films: Malle's Elevator to the Gallows, and Chabrol's Les Bonnes Femmes. He also shot Truffaut's 400 Blows if I'm not mistaken, which is a major french new wave film.

PS-French New Wave technique is called cinema-verite.


I don't think this is completely accurate. Cinema-verite is exactly what it stands for, 'truth' in cinema or however you want to translate it, and I do not think that the French New Wave filmmakers were doing that. I think cinema-verite, I think Jean Rouch and documentary filmmaking. I think French New Wave, I think Godard and Truffaut, very 'modernist' to some extent. Very well aware that what they were creating was a reconstruction of reality. Cinema-verite tries to mimick reality. It's trying to capture reality as it is.

But yeah, the French New Wave directors were influenced by 'everything.' The 'initial' filmmakers, Truffaut, Godard, etc, began by writing about it, and they loved Hollywood films by Hitchcock and Howard Hawks and the sort. So you'll have a lot to draw from when trying to create a French New Wave style.
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#12 Michael Palzkill

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 11:20 PM

I have some more to add...I just finished a paper tonight on a Truffaut film for a class, so it's on my mind.

All of these filmmakers were heavily influenced by novels. They were also aware of the Italian neorealist movement. Andre Bazin, was kind of a mentor to a couple of the filmmakers, and he has his own personal theory about what cinema should be if you are interested in reading about that. Though, the filmmakers that were influenced by him, went away from his ideas pretty quickly. Not that they were bad, the french new wave filmmakers were just big on doing things their own way, I guess.

It's also important to know that what they were reacting against was the 'perfect' French studio films that came right before them. And even more than that, they were against the screenwriter as the chief artistic person on the set. They really stressed the director as the author of the film. Which to some extent is dying today, because filmmaking is obviously a collaborative art.

Stylistically, these films were known for their long takes, moving camera, jump cuts, SELF-REFLEXIVITY (eg. looking at the camera, zooms, etc, anything that draws attention to film as a medium, meaning that they were very aware that what they were creating was a reconstruction of reality). This is in opposition to the invisible, illusionistic, Hollywood style filmmaking. But as I said in my previous post, they use a lot of traits from Hollywood films.

As others said, John Cassavettes is a great American example of French New Wave style.

If you're looking for directors, there's: Malle, Chabrol, Resnais, Varda, Truffaut, Godard, Rohmer, and Rivette. Just a list of some. Malle and Chabrol were kind of pre-cursors to the movement, but the others all played a large role.

Edited by Michael Palzkill, 07 October 2007 - 11:22 PM.

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#13 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 01:27 AM

PS-French New Wave technique is called cinema-verite.


Sorry, folks, but actually, I just must have a go at that as this is so often said but nevertheless quite incorrect! Likewise, Cinéma Vérité is not to be mistaken with Direct Cinema, which is something different either, although not alot of people understand that either :) .


Cinema-verite is exactly what it stands for, 'truth' in cinema or however you want to translate it, and I do not think that the French New Wave filmmakers were doing that. I think cinema-verite, I think Jean Rouch and documentary filmmaking. I think French New Wave, I think Godard and Truffaut, very 'modernist' to some extent. Very well aware that what they were creating was a reconstruction of reality. Cinema-verite tries to mimick reality. It's trying to capture reality as it is.


The reference to Jean Rouch as a very good example for Cinéma Vérité filmmaking, filmmaking essentially closer to "documentary filmmaking" than "feature filmmaking".

However, the reference to 'truth' is not to be read as being 1:1 (as it is so often done), but must be seen in context of the deconstructivist and post-/modernist philosophy that French intellectual and artistic life of that time was related/inspired/unseparately-linked to. The concept of "truth" is very much considered questionable and is hence constantly deconstructed (to put it really really simply). Accordingly, the idea of a "truthful reproduction" is equally misguided when making statements of any kind, incl. in filmmaking and the film rhetoric that is used to communicate with the audience.
The notion of evoking self-reflectivity in the crew, in the filming, in the film, and in the audience is an important guiding principle here - and despite what many people think, this notion is absolutely not at odds with grand Hollywood films by Hawks or Ford or Lang, which the Cahier du Cinéma authors adored.

Nouvelle Vague wanted to slash the illusion of "truthful filmmaking" (as in believing that the perfect illusion that is screened in theatres really is how it was then or how the depicted characters go about, and that included "realistic" Hollywood Film Noir pieces, except maybe some Samuel Fuller films like "The Crimson Kimono".
By bringing out the camera and getting rid of elaborate staging, and seemingly being more "realistic (as in close to life)" than the "realistic (by perfect illusion set-pieces)" Hollywood productions, they were making the filmmaking process a rhetorical protagonist because the viewer realised that all this had to be made somehow for cinema as it was fundamentally different then anything s/he had seen before: it's about bringing out ruptures to the perfect illusion of cinema, confronting the story and the viewer with themselves cinematically, and thus - after the deconstruction - allow a new form of reconstructing (note: not already reconstructed!) access.

Cinéma Vérité has similar ideas, but other intentions and approaches.
Clearly rooted in ethnography, Jean Rouch or Pierre Perrault or Johan van der Keuken never made documentary films that were truthful in the way of being "honest, exactly reporting, factual, reportage, journalistic (hmm, let's erase that last word - as if...)". I fondly remember a debate with Jean Rouch in Basel where he showed some of his scripts and proudly explained how he directed his "lay actors" in the French colonies.
Cinéma Vérité uses naturalistic techniques found in documentary filmmaking, but at the same time, it undermines the very approach by very stylistic camerawork, juxtapositioning editing, and very exact mise-en-scence of mostly lay actors or ad hoc extras, some of which are quite obviously and often unknowingly provoked or stimulated by the camera presence or the auteur of the film to make statements or come out with comments that s/he would otherwise not have made in public or even in private. It is unlayering unconcious processes of the depicted people and the society/system they form, and it has thus a very clear political message that it wants to put forward. Intercutting Colonialist rituals with aboriginal-native rituals was one of those mirroing effects that allowed Rouch's to actually state in the end much more reflective and thoughful messages for the viewer than would otherwise have been possible had a thought-laden script been excercised-through about... I don't know, blood-diamonds or Islamist fundamentalism vs American Imperialism or whatever rocks the boat in critical filmmaking at the moment.
In a sense, Cinéma Vérité is very proactive in its doing, but 'honest' rather then 'truthful' when it comes to what it is about and what it wants to say - it is and makes fully aware of the power that filmmaking is.

Direct Cinema à la Richard Leacock, Bob Wiseman or D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus are much more straightforward by hoping that their political intentions with their film becomes clear when the constant presence of the camera (made at all possible with light-weight sync-sound Normal 16 NPRs and ACLs - Rouch, however, filmed on 35mm, and all Nouvelle Vague as well - Philippe Garrel used a tank-sized Mitchell S35: so much for liberated camera!) wears the observed subject out and s/he slips - despite camera presence - away from the original self-styled self-presenting acting to his/her day-to-day behaviour that the film crew can then catch on film - a demasking by time made possible by constant shooting.

The problem I see when people today say "I want my film to be like soo New Wave'ish" just like that, is that will all-too-often come across like an empty statement, something understood as a mere filmic mannierism devoid of real political intent and background, and it is unfortunately often treated like that as well. As it is now decontextualised from the politics of mainstream filmmaking (which is were most young film students today want to head their career in the end; not at all then in the 1960s), it also seems a bit pointless as anything but a cinematographic excercise to "try out how they did it technically then".

And as Ram Shani very importantly pointed out earlier here, Goddard & co were not "crétins" or amateurs picking an 8mm or 16mm camera (as someone immediately assumed) and running around with available light, an out-of-sync Nagra shooting on coarse-grain B&W short-ends: these were highly-skilled, highly-precise and highly-intelligent people that could have bettered many super-glossy mainstream films of today had that been their intention B) .

Working-ethics-wise, all these filmmakers were actually closer to Stanley Kubrick's precision than today's many über-staffed sets with plenty of cine-machinery sorcering along awe-inspiring imagery shot and composed frames in advance for DVD caption and sales.

So be cautious when you go for that "Nouvelle Vague" look - it might bite you back, horribly. :)
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#14 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 03:05 AM

Sorry, folks, but actually, I just must have a go at that as this is so often said but nevertheless quite incorrect! Likewise, Cinéma Vérité is not to be mistaken with Direct Cinema, which is something different either, although not alot of people understand that either :) .
The reference to Jean Rouch as a very good example for Cinéma Vérité filmmaking, filmmaking essentially closer to "documentary filmmaking" than "feature filmmaking".

However, the reference to 'truth' is not to be read as being 1:1 (as it is so often done), but must be seen in context of the deconstructivist and post-/modernist philosophy that French intellectual and artistic life of that time was related/inspired/unseparately-linked to. The concept of "truth" is very much considered questionable and is hence constantly deconstructed (to put it really really simply). Accordingly, the idea of a "truthful reproduction" is equally misguided when making statements of any kind, incl. in filmmaking and the film rhetoric that is used to communicate with the audience.
The notion of evoking self-reflectivity in the crew, in the filming, in the film, and in the audience is an important guiding principle here - and despite what many people think, this notion is absolutely not at odds with grand Hollywood films by Hawks or Ford or Lang, which the Cahier du Cinéma authors adored.

Nouvelle Vague wanted to slash the illusion of "truthful filmmaking" (as in believing that the perfect illusion that is screened in theatres really is how it was then or how the depicted characters go about, and that included "realistic" Hollywood Film Noir pieces, except maybe some Samuel Fuller films like "The Crimson Kimono".
By bringing out the camera and getting rid of elaborate staging, and seemingly being more "realistic (as in close to life)" than the "realistic (by perfect illusion set-pieces)" Hollywood productions, they were making the filmmaking process a rhetorical protagonist because the viewer realised that all this had to be made somehow for cinema as it was fundamentally different then anything s/he had seen before: it's about bringing out ruptures to the perfect illusion of cinema, confronting the story and the viewer with themselves cinematically, and thus - after the deconstruction - allow a new form of reconstructing (note: not already reconstructed!) access.

Cinéma Vérité has similar ideas, but other intentions and approaches.
Clearly rooted in ethnography, Jean Rouch or Pierre Perrault or Johan van der Keuken never made documentary films that were truthful in the way of being "honest, exactly reporting, factual, reportage, journalistic (hmm, let's erase that last word - as if...)". I fondly remember a debate with Jean Rouch in Basel where he showed some of his scripts and proudly explained how he directed his "lay actors" in the French colonies.
Cinéma Vérité uses naturalistic techniques found in documentary filmmaking, but at the same time, it undermines the very approach by very stylistic camerawork, juxtapositioning editing, and very exact mise-en-scence of mostly lay actors or ad hoc extras, some of which are quite obviously and often unknowingly provoked or stimulated by the camera presence or the auteur of the film to make statements or come out with comments that s/he would otherwise not have made in public or even in private. It is unlayering unconcious processes of the depicted people and the society/system they form, and it has thus a very clear political message that it wants to put forward. Intercutting Colonialist rituals with aboriginal-native rituals was one of those mirroing effects that allowed Rouch's to actually state in the end much more reflective and thoughful messages for the viewer than would otherwise have been possible had a thought-laden script been excercised-through about... I don't know, blood-diamonds or Islamist fundamentalism vs American Imperialism or whatever rocks the boat in critical filmmaking at the moment.
In a sense, Cinéma Vérité is very proactive in its doing, but 'honest' rather then 'truthful' when it comes to what it is about and what it wants to say - it is and makes fully aware of the power that filmmaking is.

Direct Cinema à la Richard Leacock, Bob Wiseman or D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus are much more straightforward by hoping that their political intentions with their film becomes clear when the constant presence of the camera (made at all possible with light-weight sync-sound Normal 16 NPRs and ACLs - Rouch, however, filmed on 35mm, and all Nouvelle Vague as well - Philippe Garrel used a tank-sized Mitchell S35: so much for liberated camera!) wears the observed subject out and s/he slips - despite camera presence - away from the original self-styled self-presenting acting to his/her day-to-day behaviour that the film crew can then catch on film - a demasking by time made possible by constant shooting.

The problem I see when people today say "I want my film to be like soo New Wave'ish" just like that, is that will all-too-often come across like an empty statement, something understood as a mere filmic mannierism devoid of real political intent and background, and it is unfortunately often treated like that as well. As it is now decontextualised from the politics of mainstream filmmaking (which is were most young film students today want to head their career in the end; not at all then in the 1960s), it also seems a bit pointless as anything but a cinematographic excercise to "try out how they did it technically then".

And as Ram Shani very importantly pointed out earlier here, Goddard & co were not "crétins" or amateurs picking an 8mm or 16mm camera (as someone immediately assumed) and running around with available light, an out-of-sync Nagra shooting on coarse-grain B&W short-ends: these were highly-skilled, highly-precise and highly-intelligent people that could have bettered many super-glossy mainstream films of today had that been their intention B) .

Working-ethics-wise, all these filmmakers were actually closer to Stanley Kubrick's precision than today's many über-staffed sets with plenty of cine-machinery sorcering along awe-inspiring imagery shot and composed frames in advance for DVD caption and sales.

So be cautious when you go for that "Nouvelle Vague" look - it might bite you back, horribly. :)


www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-cinemaver.html

www.britannica.com/eb/article-9082666/cinema-verite

http://en.wikipedia....inéma_vérité

www.filmeducation.org/secondary/cinverite.html

www.parlez-vous.com/misc/realism.htm



Every one of these encyclopedias refers to the French cinema of the 1960s I.E. French NEW WAVE and many refer to Gordard by name.

I rest my case.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 08 October 2007 - 03:09 AM.

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#15 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 05:09 AM

[many impressive sounding hyperlinks to online encyclopedias]

Every one of these encyclopedias refers to the French cinema of the 1960s I.E. French NEW WAVE and many refer to Gordard by name.

I rest my case.


Ehm, Steven, I very much respect that you stand for your case. Out of this respect, I really don't know how to break it to you, but actually, well, all the above quoted sources are talking explicity about Cinéma Vérité (!) as developed by Jean Rouch, showcased for the first time in "Moi, un Noir" in 1958 and the following tradition, as I talked about it in my post.

Most of the above sources also make a defining distinction between the mutual approaches but different formalities between Cinéma Vérité and Direct Cinema documentary filmmaking (note the absence of feature directors and feature films), as it appeared in the US and UK via Leacock, Pennebaker, Wiseman and also Chris Marker, the Maysles Bros and many more.

Only one source, namely this one (and this is most certainly not "many" as you put it) mention Jean Luc Godard at all. And then it explicitly makes a distinction between documentary-film-based Cinéma Vérité on one hand as "...pioneered in the late 1950s and early 60s by such French documentary filmmakers as Jean Rouch and Chris Marker...", and feature film directors of the Nouvelle Vague on the other hand, who saw these films as being "...influential in the work of a number of directors (!, as in feature film director, which Nouvelle Vague stands for), most notably Jean-Luc Godard..."
Note: Two hands, but both are part of one unifying body, which is French cinema in the 1950/60/70s out of its overarching intellectual context. Unfortunately, that is still not meaning that Nouvelle Vague and Cinéma Vérité or Direct Cinema is the same! It's not, and not making that distinction might work in some environments, but it some others, it might be a bit embarrassing (like saying that the 416 is a really cool 35mm camera...)

As you have so thoroughly googled for your research, can I also draw your attention to the circumstance that all those directors normally associated with the term "Nouvelle Vague" and which have also been mentioned in all the earlier posts in this thread, like Louis Malle, Claude Chabrol, Alain Resnais, Agnes Varda, Francois Truffaut, Jean Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, and Jacques Rivette, are not mentioned at all in your sources, while all the C.V. and D.C. documentary filmmakers I have mentioned have not been brought up in this whole thread about Nouvelle Vague until you incorrectly brought in Cinéma Vérité, which is a distinct circle of people. Sure, all those guys knew each other well and hung around with Jean-Pierre Beauviala in Grenoble, building together their perfect 16mm and 35mm cameras, but still, they where running their own group gigs.

Your claim, that Nouvelle Vague (a.k.a. French New Wave) and C.V./D.C. are exchangeble terms or even the same, would be a bit like saying that Mini and Rolls-Royce are basically BMWs, because these two companies are part of the BMW Group. But, actually, Minis or Rolls-Royces are still not BMWs, and will never be, for their respective drivers, car historians, anoracks, you name it, even though their technical background and technolgy and know-how and even production philosophy is shared.

As you are putting so much trust into online encycs, please allow me to give you a better fix:
-> http://en.wikipedia....French_New_Wave
-> http://en.wikipedia....inéma_vérité
-> http://en.wikipedia....i/Direct_Cinema
I am always a bit sceptical against referential stuff in the "cloud", as incorrect or half-cooked info can easily end up being perceived as "correct" despite being quack, but the above entries, though rather sketchy, are quite good and also make exactly the same differentiations as other people here do, including myself in my post.

I think you lost your case, James. No hard feelings, though, I hope.

*offers-friendly-handshake-to-move-on*
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#16 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 01:54 PM

There were color films in the New Wave, you can reference Godard's "Weekend" for example. 35mm was pretty much what Coutard was shooting in his Cameflex. I don't know if any were shot on 16.

I read Michael's link to Wikipedia. Lot of good information there.


Also a number of anamorphic.
'400 Blows', 'Jules et Jim', 'Shoot the piano Player', Cotempt', 'The Lovers'.
Godard also did some in Techniscope, non-Technicolor.
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#17 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:39 PM

Ehm, Steven, I very much respect that you stand for your case. Out of this respect, I really don't know how to break it to you, but actually, well, all the above quoted sources are talking explicity about Cinéma Vérité (!) as developed by Jean Rouch, showcased for the first time in "Moi, un Noir" in 1958 and the following tradition, as I talked about it in my post.

Most of the above sources also make a defining distinction between the mutual approaches but different formalities between Cinéma Vérité and Direct Cinema documentary filmmaking (note the absence of feature directors and feature films), as it appeared in the US and UK via Leacock, Pennebaker, Wiseman and also Chris Marker, the Maysles Bros and many more.

Only one source, namely this one (and this is most certainly not "many" as you put it) mention Jean Luc Godard at all. And then it explicitly makes a distinction between documentary-film-based Cinéma Vérité on one hand as "...pioneered in the late 1950s and early 60s by such French documentary filmmakers as Jean Rouch and Chris Marker...", and feature film directors of the Nouvelle Vague on the other hand, who saw these films as being "...influential in the work of a number of directors (!, as in feature film director, which Nouvelle Vague stands for), most notably Jean-Luc Godard..."
Note: Two hands, but both are part of one unifying body, which is French cinema in the 1950/60/70s out of its overarching intellectual context. Unfortunately, that is still not meaning that Nouvelle Vague and Cinéma Vérité or Direct Cinema is the same! It's not, and not making that distinction might work in some environments, but it some others, it might be a bit embarrassing (like saying that the 416 is a really cool 35mm camera...)

As you have so thoroughly googled for your research, can I also draw your attention to the circumstance that all those directors normally associated with the term "Nouvelle Vague" and which have also been mentioned in all the earlier posts in this thread, like Louis Malle, Claude Chabrol, Alain Resnais, Agnes Varda, Francois Truffaut, Jean Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, and Jacques Rivette, are not mentioned at all in your sources, while all the C.V. and D.C. documentary filmmakers I have mentioned have not been brought up in this whole thread about Nouvelle Vague until you incorrectly brought in Cinéma Vérité, which is a distinct circle of people. Sure, all those guys knew each other well and hung around with Jean-Pierre Beauviala in Grenoble, building together their perfect 16mm and 35mm cameras, but still, they where running their own group gigs.

Your claim, that Nouvelle Vague (a.k.a. French New Wave) and C.V./D.C. are exchangeble terms or even the same, would be a bit like saying that Mini and Rolls-Royce are basically BMWs, because these two companies are part of the BMW Group. But, actually, Minis or Rolls-Royces are still not BMWs, and will never be, for their respective drivers, car historians, anoracks, you name it, even though their technical background and technolgy and know-how and even production philosophy is shared.

As you are putting so much trust into online encycs, please allow me to give you a better fix:
-> http://en.wikipedia....French_New_Wave
-> http://en.wikipedia....inéma_vérité
-> http://en.wikipedia....i/Direct_Cinema
I am always a bit sceptical against referential stuff in the "cloud", as incorrect or half-cooked info can easily end up being perceived as "correct" despite being quack, but the above entries, though rather sketchy, are quite good and also make exactly the same differentiations as other people here do, including myself in my post.

I think you lost your case, James. No hard feelings, though, I hope.

*offers-friendly-handshake-to-move-on*


No one is disputing the Verite' started as a documentary film style, it was then, however, completely an unceremoniously usurped by Godard and his cronies as a method of making films more cheaply and as a revolt against established film making techniques in an attempt to make narratives seem more "real". Do not FORGET that Jean Rouch's "Moi, un Noir" was a mere 2 years before Godard's À bout de souffle. The influence of documentary cinema verite' on this grand daddy of the French New Wave films is unmistakable and undeniable. If you want to call French New Wave technique Narrative Verite' to sooth your ruffled feathers go ahead, it's an accurate description. We're not talking a Mini and an Roll Royce, we're talking a Bentley and a Rolls Royce. Of course there are no hard feeling about your opinion of "my case" as ths is a friendly debate of which you are not the judge and (forgive my frankness) FAR more qualified experts on film history have weighed in on this question and the consensus seems to be heavily stacked in my favor.
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#18 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:50 PM

Oh and BTW you're soooo right, Encyclopedia Britannica is a TOTAL rag, how could I POSSIBLY quote from such unreliable sources.
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#19 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 10:27 AM

Okay, I don't know where to start, frankly, as your last two posts are implying, opinion-changing and mangling a couple of things against my persona. Normally, I would walk away in order not to wake up the moderators here, but plenty of unregistered readers, amongst them many film students, come to cinematography.com to do their initial research before heading to a library (if they do that at all anymore; Red user manuals seem more highly valued today then an original print of the Cahier du Cinéma ? and why not, actually...), so what they read here matters.

But as you want to insist on all this, and probably realised by now that I cant afford to have my name attached to a two-person-debate where incorrect terminology and genealogy is included ? not on this subject matter at least ? I am very easy prey for you as you force me to reply ;) .

Let's go back to where this all started: namely your easy-going claim that...

" PS-French New Wave technique is called cinema-verite."


I maintain that such a statement cannot be taken as face value as you subordinate one filmmaking style to another, reducing it to a technique. It's not that simple, and I have extensively elaborated on that in my previous two posts. Pleae re-read them thoroughly.
Can I also just remind you that it was actually Michael Palzkill who first red-flagged that your claim is not accurate! I just wanted to support that because I think that putting this clear actually matters. There are few truly philosophy-inspired and intellectually-laden film concepts around since WWII, so film-historically, we cinematographers had it pretty easy not to be bothered too much by bookish stuff when making a film. However, when we come out to discuss the prime example of "bookish" concepts, then, I think, we should at least pay our respect to what these people thought up ? maybe I am biased because I had the geographical advantage to easily meet and talk to these cineastes, and hence learned first hand from them and what they and their films are all about. And as my own filmmaking is influenced by their legacy (as more and more pass away) yes, James, despite me being an easy-going guy, I actually take my cinematography and all that very serious indeed.

No one is disputing the Verite' started as a documentary film style


C.V. is a documentary film approach. Nothing else (and that is already alot).

It was then, however, completely an unceremoniously usurped by Godard and his cronies as a method of making films more cheaply and as a revolt against established film making techniques in an attempt to make narratives seem more "real". Do not FORGET that Jean Rouch's "Moi, un Noir" was a mere 2 years before Godard's À bout de souffle. The influence of documentary cinema verite' on this grand daddy of the French New Wave films is unmistakable and undeniable.


As stated in my earlier posts, I have said before that Cinéma Vérité (as for stylised documentary films), Direct Cinema (as in unstylised documentary films) and Nouvelle Vague (for feature films) and their disctinct but neverthless friendly person-circles cross-influenced each other. There is no clear cut line of "that-came-first-then-was-that-and-that-just-was-usurped-by-cronies".
To claim that C.V. influenced "Godard and his cronies" :unsure: and they "usurped" that style from Rouch, most prominently "Moi, un Noir", for their 2-year-later film is really bold. Actually, Rouch was heavily influenced by Godard, Truffault and Rivette via their writing in the Cahier du Cinéma before he postulated Cinéma Vérité with "Moi, un Noir". And Rivette's statement that "la seul critique d'un film doit être un autre film", the only valid critique of a film has to be another film, lead to the idea to take the plunge and start making feature films themselves. When watching "Moi, un Noir" or "Chronique d'un Été", you will see that actually, the stylistic spill-overs from Cinéma Vérité around Rouch to the early films of the Nouvelle Vague around Godard and Rivette are not that obvious at all. Sure, these guys hung out together and politicised their approaches, but it's not that Godard "usurped" Rouch and hence, Nouvelle Vague technique can just be called Cinéma Vérité as well. That's really not it at all.

If you want to call French New Wave technique Narrative Verite'...

:mellow:

...to sooth your ruffled feathers...

:huh:

go ahead, it's an accurate description.


which would mean, if you subscribe to that, that you changed your view. But "Narrative Vérité" is an inexistent term created by you which shows that you havn't read my earlier posts.

We're not talking a Mini and an Roll Royce, we're talking a Bentley and a Rolls Royce.

:rolleyes:

This is a friendly debate of which you are not the judge

:o

Hmm, you came up with the "I rest my case" analogy, not me. I also never stated to be a judge. I am just substantiating the case of the defence against your claims. This is a jury trial, with the readers of cinematography.com forming their opinions based on the thoroughness, style, and background of our points of view. It's just that your case rested on circumstantial evidence, with extensives source-dropping that actually undermined your very case (please read my review of your sources earlier), and I hence felt compelled to second Michael Palzkill in pointing out more thoroughly, forensically, if you want, that your case was not entirely accurate and inform the jury that when they have to talk about French Cinema of the 1950/60/70s professionally (which they might have to or not, depends on their film projects), there is more to it than meets the eye. Hey, I give a free lecture here, don't shoot the forensic guy while under oath :D .

FAR more qualified experts on film history have weighed in on this question and the consensus seems to be heavily stacked in my favor.

:blink: Really? Wow, you researched all of us really thoroughly...

Oh and BTW you're soooo right, Encyclopedia Britannica is a TOTAL rag, how could I POSSIBLY quote from such unreliable sources.

:wacko: I never said that the EB is a "TOTAL rag" ? I usually don't shout either, by the way, as I try to stay mannered ? or that it is an unreliable source. But there is a difference between name-dropping a source and quoting a source. And none of the EB source material you brought up seconds your case. Quite the contrary, actually, as I discussed in my second post. Only HighBeam Encyclopedia mentions Nouvelle Vague filmmakers like Godard at all, and then only as being influenced by Cinéma Vérité, which is kind of "Duh!". But there is nothing stating that Cinéma Vérité is a Nouvelle Vague technique, or that these terms are interchangeable or the same. In the contrary, as a clear separation is made by the encyclopedist by differing between C.V. and Godard & Co as N.V.

I believed to be even so kind and give you a couple of other encyclopedia hyperlinks
-> http://en.wikipedia....French_New_Wave
-> http://en.wikipedia....inéma_vérité
-> http://en.wikipedia....i/Direct_Cinema
to read through as a quick-ref, and they distinct between C.V., D.C. and N.V. as well. And that is all what it's about: 3 degrees of separation of and in the "Cinéma du Réel"! ^_^

Cheers, James, I shall leave it at that from my side as I cannot contribute to this further.
Best greetings to Texas. Hope the weather there is better than in London.

Edited by Michael Lehnert, 09 October 2007 - 10:31 AM.

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#20 Jason Reimer

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 05:23 PM

Hopefully this doesn't muddy the waters at all, but check out a film called Z. It was directed in 1969 by Costa Gavras and shot by Raoul Coutard, and while it is technically a fiction film, it is based on the real events surrounding the assassination of a Greek politician of the day (sorry, I can't think of his name right now.) Take a look at it and try to figure out how you would categorize it; cinema-verite, docu-drama, propaganda, all of the above, or something else entirely? (Definitely not French New Wave, but I think it's related as far as influences and heritage go.)
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