Week 6 February 15th Film Genres and Auteurs The French nouvelle vague, counter culture Debord, Godard, et al



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Week 6 February 15th Film Genres and Auteurs The French nouvelle vague, counter culture...Debord, Godard, et al.

  • Truffaut, Chabrol, Tati, and the International avant-garde: Cassevetes, Frank, Kubrick, Antonioni et al.

Readings

  • Thompson & Bordwell Chapter 20 New Wave and Young Cinemas. Hayward, Susan Key Concepts Auteur Theory” pp 12-20French New Wave” pp135-141
  • Screenings: Jean –Luc Godard Breathless (1959) Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor Lonely Boy (1961), Robert Frank Pull My Daisy excerpts from: John Cassevetes Shadows (1959); Francois Truffaut Les quartre cents coups (The 400 Blows) (1959-60), Michelangelo Antonioni.Blow Up (1966)

Assignment Updates

  • Assignment 2: In class Film Sequence analysis (20%) Tuesday March 1st
  • Assignment 3: Research Essay (25%) Due: Tuesday March 29th

Kino-Pravda

  • Dziga Vertov's Kino-Pravda (Russian for "cinema of truth"), a documentary series of the 1920sFrance and Quebec (particularly at the National Film Board of Canada) in the 1950s and flourished in the 1960s. The aesthetic of cinéma-vérité was essentially the same as that of the mid-1950s "free cinema" in the UK and "Direct Cinema" in the US. Some filmmakers in France and Québec found the term cinema vérité to be pretentious, and called it "cinéma direct" instead

Cinéma-vérité

  • Cinéma-vérité is a style of filmmaking, combining naturalistic techniques that originated in documentary filmmaking, with stylized cinematic devices of editing and camerawork, staged set-ups, and the use of the camera to provoke subjects.
  • Jean –Luc Godard Breathless

Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor Lonely Boy

  • Between 1958 and 1961 Kroitor co-produced, with , the Candid Eye direct cinema documentary series for the National Film Board. One of those films became the highly influential Cinéma vérité-style documentary about singer Paul Anka: Lonely Boy. This film's use of portable film and sound gear, with lack of a narration voice-over, would influence later documentaries like D.A. Pennebaker's Bob Dylan 1967 feature Dont Look Back. Lonely Boy was one of the earliest examples of a rockumentary and was parodied in the comedy This is Spinal Tap.

John Cassevetes Shadows (1959)

Francois Truffaut Les quartre cents coups (The 400 Blows)

Auteur Theory

  • Auteur :  A filmmaker, usually a director, who exercises creative control over his or her works and has a strong personal style. Auteurism is the method of analyzing films based on this theory or, alternately, the characteristics of a director's work that makes her or him an auteur/artist. Both auteur theory and auteurist method of film analysis are frequently associated with the French New Wave and the film critics who wrote for Cahiers du cinéma.

Auteur theory draws on the work of André Bazin, co-founder of the Cahiers du cinéma, who argued that films should reflect a director's personal vision. Bazin championed filmmakers such as Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock and Jean Renoir. Another key element of auteur theory comes from notion of the caméra-stylo or “camera-pen” coined by Alexandre Astruc the idea that directors should wield their cameras like writers use their pens and that they need not be hindered by traditional storytelling.

  • Auteur theory draws on the work of André Bazin, co-founder of the Cahiers du cinéma, who argued that films should reflect a director's personal vision. Bazin championed filmmakers such as Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock and Jean Renoir. Another key element of auteur theory comes from notion of the caméra-stylo or “camera-pen” coined by Alexandre Astruc the idea that directors should wield their cameras like writers use their pens and that they need not be hindered by traditional storytelling.
  • C.w. NSCAD Video sketchbook (Jan Peacock)

Francois Truffaut

  • 1954 essay “Une certaine tendance du cinéma français" ("a certain trend in the French cinema"), François Truffaut coined the phrase “la politique des auteurs”, asserting that the worst of Jean Renoir's movies would always be more interesting than the best of Jean Delannoy’s. “Politique” may be translated as “policy” or “program”; as it involves a conscious decision to look at films and to value them in a certain way. Truffaut provocatively said that “(t)here are no good and bad movies, only good and bad directors.”

La Nouvelle Vague

  • A term coined by critics for a group of French filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s, influenced (in part) by Italian Neorealism. Although never a formally organized movement, the New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of classical cinematic form and their avant-garde spirit of youthful iconoclasm.

The New Wave

  • Many film makers also engaged in their work with the social and political upheavals of the era, making their radical experiments with editing, (jump cut) visual style, and (improvisatory) narrative part of a general break with the conservative paradigm. C.w. Jazz
  • Some of the most prominent pioneers among the group, including Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol and Jacques Rivette, began as critics for the famous film magazine Cahiers du cinéma.

New Wave Characteristics

  • Emerges in the late 1950’s
  • Many new wave movements
  • Rejection of studio bound filmmaking
  • Director as artist
  • Youth, energy spontaneity, laissez faire
  • Rejection of narrative and style
  • Influence of North American cinema

New Wave 2

  • Location shooting
  • Non professional actors
  • Open ended narrative
  • Self-referential
  • Breakdown of taboos
  • Audience willing to view new type of film reflecting the speed of modern life

New Wave Context

  • Rejection of studio system in favour of location independence French studio system was too rigid and hierarchical
  • Young film makers wanted to make film not literary adaptations
  • The influence of documentary and Dziga Vertov’s Kino Pravda (film truth)

Film as Art

  • Decline of traditional movie audiences
  • Rise of art house theatres
  • Rise of serious criticism and a film culture
  • Filmmakers such as Truffaut, Fellini, Godard, Antonioni as seen as artists

Other art forms

  • improvisatory new wave jazz
  • Robert Frank The Americans book and Pull My Daisy (film)
  • Abstract Art to Pop
  • Warhol, Rauschenberg et al

The Situationists (I.S.)

  • About subverting the use of culture (as commodity) under capitalism
  • Guy Debord The Society of the Spectacle
  • “spectacle is not a collection of images but a social relation between people mediated through images”

Subverting power relations

  • Guy Debord
  • “the entire life of societies in which modern condition of production reign appears as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was expressed directly has been distanced in a representation.”

Jean Luc Godard

  • Godard born 3 December 1930 is a French and Swiss filmmaker and one of the most influential members of the Nouvelle Vague, or "French New Wave".
  • Born to Franco-Swiss parents in Paris, he was educated in Nyon, Switzerland, later studying at the Lycée Rohmer, and the Sorbonne in Paris, where he studied ethnology. During his time at the Sorbonne, he became involved with the young group of filmmakers and film theorists that gave birth to the New Wave.

Jean Luc Godard

  • “All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun”
  • “I see no difference between reality and an image of reality…a picture is life and life is a picture”

Breathless (1959)

À bout de souffle

  • Godard’s first feature film, À bout de souffle (1959; Breathless), produced by François Truffaut, his colleague on the journal Cahiers du Cinéma, won the Jean Vigo Prize. It inaugurated a long series of features, all celebrated for the often drastic nonchalance of Godard's improvisatory filmmaking procedures. Breathless was shot without a script; Godard sketched the dialogue overnight and revised it between and during rehearsals.

Plot

  • Breathless recounts the misadventures of a petty crook (played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, often Godard's alter ego on screen) who admires Humphrey Bogart and is betrayed to the police by an American girl. He meets and falls in love with Jean Seberg.

Godard films

  • Bout De Souffle (Breathless) 1959. Black and White. 90 minutes.   With Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg.  Written by Godard and Truffaut.   Cinematography by Raoul Coutard.   Production design by Claude Chabrol!

Godard Films 2

  • Pierrot Le Fou 1965. Color. 110 minutes. With Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina. Cinematography by Raoul Coutard.
  • Vivre Sa Vie (Her Life to Live)1962. Black and White. 85 minutes. With Anna Karina and Sady Rebbot. Cinematography by Raoul Coutard.

Godard Films 3

  • Mepris (Contempt) 1963. Color. 105 minutes. With Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Fritz Lang, Michel Piccoli
  • Cinematography by Raoul Coutard.
  • Alphaville 1965. Black and White. 100 minutes. With Anna Karina and Eddie Constantine.
  • Cinematography by Raoul Coutard.

Books

  • Godard on Godard: Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard.       
  • Edited by Jean Narboni and Tom Milne.
  • The Films of Jean-Luc Godard By Wheeler Winston Dixon. Speaking About Godard    Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki.


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