New wave cinema and its impact on filmmaking

The era of New Wave Cinema came to an end with the death of one of its founding fathers, Jean-Luc Godard. Breathlesshis 1951 film, laid the foundations of modern cinematic techniques, which officially established a film movement called New Wave Cinema.

The new wave cinematic revolution, also known as the “New Wave”, was a cinematic revolution that originated in France in the late 1950s. question traditional film culture as they knew it at the time.

Jean-Luc Godard has inspired many filmmakers over the decades. An independent filmmaker, Amartya Bhattacharya, has made his new film Odia “Adieu Godard” in honor of his role model, Jean-Luc Godard. A comedic socio-cultural tribute to the legendary French filmmaker.

Amartya Bhattacharyya bid farewell to his favorite filmmaker with a heartfelt note shared on his Twitter account.

‘Adieu Godard’ is a satire on an Indian villager’s encounter with Godard’s film. The film was released on September 9.

During the 1950s, after the World War, many social, economic, political, technological and industrial reforms took place. After witnessing two disastrous wars and the loss of a million lives, the world was moving towards something new by breaking old norms and revolting against society and stereotypes in all aspects including the ‘Film Industry.

Beginning of the New Wave in France

The New Wave Cinema was inspired by the French film critic, director, journalist and novelist Alexandre Astrucmanifest “The birth of a new avant-garde: the stylus-camerapublished in 1948. The manifesto promotes the concept of the “pen-camera”, which refers to the idea that directors should handle their camera like writers handle their pen.

The concept of Astruc’s manifesto was picked up by the writers and film critics of the popular film magazine Cinema notebooks in 1951 and began making their own independent films.

Jean-Luc Godard Breathless was the first film to incorporate all the cinematic rules established by the New Wave Cinema movement.

New Wave Cinema Techniques and Concepts Again pertinent

  • Themes and representation of truth as they see it

French New Wave revolutionaries were passionate about filming and using techniques to create the most truthful and authentic depiction of their stories possible.

This is where the New Wave united with the Art Cinema Revolution in India.

India is a diverse country that has been under British rule for 200 years. The nation has witnessed caste system, social, economic, educational, political and racial injustice for more than two centuries from where realism in India started as early as 1920s.

The first example of a realistic film was a silent film by director Baburao Painter named No Savkari (1925)in which a poor peasant who lost his land to a greedy and unjust loan shark and was forced to migrate and work as a factory worker.

The unique selling point of Indian art cinema was the combination of literature and realism which were equally balanced in the films. The perspective is still relevant and continues with directors like Vishal Bharadwaj.

Example:Haider adapted from Shakespeare Hamlet directed by Vishal Bharadwaj.

“Main hoon ya main nahi” by Shahid Kapoor depicts Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” monologue.

In the beginning, the aim of editing was mainly to maintain continuity in the scenes and to move the image forward at a constant speed. The editing was supposed to be imperceptible, but cinematic revolutionaries completely changed the concept. They wanted audiences to become more aware of the techniques used in filmmaking.

Example: – Jump cuts at Godard Breathless.

Example: – KGF Chapter 2 car chase scene was shot with “Play n Pause” technique.

La Nouvelle Vague introduced something unique that actors hadn’t done before that broke the fourth wall. They spoke on camera or did something to acknowledge the existence of the industry.

Example: – Breaking the fourth wall at Godard Breathless.

Example: – Akshaye Khanna as Sanjaya Baru in The Accidental Prime Minister has broken the fourth wall many times.

Example: – from Marvel dead Pool breaking the fourth wall inside the fourth wall.

  • Camera-Stylo: Director as Creator

The French New Wave was built on and promoted a technique known as Camera-Stylo, which stipulated that a director should use his camera in the same way a writer would use his pen. The concept implied that directors must have a model, a unique signature or a different style in films that can make the film their own.

Example: – Subhash Ghai cameo in Hero, Ram Lakhan and Talal.

Example: – Stan Lee’s cameo in The Unbelievable Pontoon.

Moving their cameras could quickly change the space of the environment in the film, turning a confined space into an open space in a single shot, or vice versa. Over the Shoulder (OTS), wide-angle shooting, moving frames for chase scenes, etc., were experimented with at this time.

Example: – Filming action sequence from director Rohit Shetty.

Example: – Shot over the shoulder in Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa.

Example: – Wide-angle shooting Shree 420.

Example: – Dramatic close-up of Amitabh Bachchan from Guru.

Example: – Camera technique and cinematography that we started using during the New Wave

Example: – Camera technique and cinematography that we use today.


New Wave Cinema’s Biggest Rule Is “No Rules”

To keep the creativity, experiments, and “camera-pen” style alive for future generations of directors, they established a “rule without rules” where even they can break their own rules as needed.

This was done to ensure that the movement can always evolve and adapt, that it can always find a way to speak directly to an audience and challenge the status quo, and that it is constantly relevant, important and amazing by going beyond one’s own established techniques.

About Herbert L. Leonard

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