Iconic French new wave films to watch

The film era enthralled several people and made them fall in love with French cinema.

Films have evolved a lot since the time the Lumière brothers invented the camera that could record, develop and project film. There are several movements (commonly referred to as waves) inglobal movie-making that changed the face of motion pictures, and one of the most iconic ones was the – French New Wave. The movement originated in 1950 and rose to popularity in Paris. Filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Éric Rohmer gave birth to the auteur cinema and questioned all the traditional storylines and ways of filmmaking. If you are unaware of the movement, here we have a list of some of the best French new wave films to start you can start watching:

Breathless (1960)

Jean-Luc Godard became a well-known name after this particular film. Many may pass this one off as yet another love story, but Godard made it modern, fearless and auteur. The screenplay of this film uses handheld cameras and natural lighting. The film is about a man who steals a car, kills a cop and then hides in Paris with his girlfriend. Definitely give this one a watch!

Shoot the Piano Player (1960)

This movie premiered at the London Film Festival in October 1960 and was François Truffaut’s second film. Part of the comedy-thriller genre, this movie also features surrealist writing and screenplay that might leave you feeling like you are watching a film inside a film during this. Adapted from David Goodis’s crime novel, it stars Charles Aznavour as the classical pianist who comes in contact with gangsters.

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

Directed by Alain Resnais, Hiroshima Mon Amour is his first fiction feature. Another love story, this film tells the story of a French woman (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese man (Eiji Okada) who fall in love during present-day Hiroshima and suffer from personal and historical memories. If you want to see the leap of French cinema into modernism, this should be on your must-watch list.

Les 400 Coups (1959)

Another classic and iconic film from François Truffaut, this one is semi-autobiographical and explores the world of adolescence. Following the life of a boy who is ignored by his mother and takes on the street. On his walk, he faces several difficulties, and the director perfectly makes the audience feel what he is feeling. The most talked-about part of this film is definitely the ending, and it has gone on to become something every film school teaches aspiring filmmakers.

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