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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:06 am 
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David Ehrenstein wrote:
Actually right wing.

Read Truffaut's "A Certain Tendency in the French Cinema."
The founding document of la politique des auteurs the actual content of this essay has never been discussed outside France.

Where am I going to find this? Is the article simply against political cinema, or is it right wing?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:35 am 
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Truffaut's article UNE CERTAINE TENDANCE.... here

Follow the link on the left...


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:04 pm 
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ellipsis7 wrote:
Truffaut's article UNE CERTAINE TENDANCE.... here

Follow the link on the left...

Sorry, my French is embarrassingly poor! I found a translation here.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:32 pm 

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The money quote:

[quote]As for the taste for blasphemy, it shows itself constantly, in a manner more or less insidious, according to the subject, the director, indeed even the star. I recall from memory the confessional scene in “Douceâ€


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:45 pm 

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David Ehrenstein wrote:
Durgnat's book is teriffic. He sees the "New Wave" as a style an an attitude as much as the group of Cahiers du Cinema film critics who became film directors that it actually was. Consequently he discusses Melville, who was very much a father figure to the "Wave" -- not just because he appeared in Breathless but because of Bob le Flambeur which was shot in the off-thecuff style that became a "New Wave" signature.

And then there's that 1959 New Wave picture whose inaugural position has gone largely unremarked over the years. --

-- 'Le Testament du Docteur Cordelier' by Jean Renoir.

craig.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:12 pm 
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David Ehrenstein wrote:
It was Richard Roud who identified the "Left Bank School" (Resnais, Varda, Marker) as different from the rest of the "New Wave." Being married to Varda, Demy was part of this school himself. What primarily differentiates them from the others is their leftist politics. The Cahiers crowd was quite right-wing until May '68

That's interesting. Now that you mention it, Roud's is the earliest mention of it that I'd encountered, but I hadn't realised that the distinction originated with him.

Another key difference for me is the strong Left Bank engagement with contemporary philosophy, art and literature versus the Cahiers alliance with American genre cinema. Not a value judgement, but it does lend the films of the two factions quite a different character. And of course, the distinction immediately gets very messy when you start looking at figures like Rivette and Demy.


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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 5:36 pm 
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Slate has 23 great pictures of New Wave directors/actors here.


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 Post subject: Re: Jean-Luc Godard
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:57 pm 
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zedz wrote:
domino harvey wrote:
I’m working on compiling a "full" study of Nouvelle Vague works and directors from this period and while most people only associate ten or so names with the movement, at the time Cahiers themselves included over 150 young French filmmakers who made movies in the wave during the first couple years of the movement (and yes, they even include the directors they hated). Several contemporary books and journals on the New Wave highlight that a conservative estimate puts the tally of directors generally regarded as part of the movement closer to a hundred than a handful.

Thanks for all the valuable information. I'm very interested in this idea of an 'expanded canon' for the New Wave, as there are a number of really interesting French filmmakers that emerged at the time who aren't generally understood as being part of the New Wave. In the case of Alain Cavalier, he didn't become (briefly) prominent until decades later, and a lot of his work has been very different in character, but his first feature is right in the NV tradition. The Zanzibar Group seems very much its own thing to me, but they're sometimes lumped in with the New Wave anyway. Then there are strict contemporaries like Marcel Hanoun and Nikos Papatakis, who were making distinctive independent films at exactly the same time, but whose work I feel is far removed from the New Wave (and Papatakis, at least, defined his cinema against the New Wave).

Both have been recently celebrated with English-friendly box sets in France. Hanoun is by far the better filmmaker, and his quartet Les Saisons does veer close to the New Wave at points (and close to the Dziga Vertov Group at others).


domino harvey wrote:
Funny you mention that, as the rise of the Zanzibar group pretty neatly confirms the death of the New Wave and is one of the reasons (beyond the obvious) that I've capped the survey at 1968 (even though the Nouvelle Vague was pretty much dead well before that). Also, you'll probably be gratified to hear that Cahiers named Cavalier, Hanoun, and Papatakis as part of the New Wave during the initial labeling!

1968 is the sensible and obvious place to end the New Wave, and a number of key filmmakers conveniently go along with the demarcation: Godard's career takes a radical turn, Resnais goes on
(involuntary) sabbatical, Demy and Varda leave the country, and Truffaut had already entered the commercial mainstream.

I still have a couple of niggles with that demarcation, however. Rohmer is right in the middle of his Six Moral Tales, and it seems rather arbitrary to rule the second half of the series post-New Wave. And although Pialat's feature career is decidedly post-New Wave, and represents a new departure for French filmmaking, he emerged from the movement and his first feature L'Enfance nue still has one foot in that camp (and was produced by Francois Truffaut and Mag Bodard). The biggest asterisk for me has to be The Mother and the Whore, which is a quintessential New Wave film that falls way outside the sensibly demarcated era (1973). Like Pialat, Eustache is a significant New Wave filmmaker who didn't get to release his first feature until after the movement was largely over.


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 Post subject: Re: Jean-Luc Godard
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:06 pm 
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Pialat was included on a supplemental list to Cahiers' cataloging of New Wave filmmakers as a director in the process of securing financing for his first feature... in 1962! I guess the glut of bombs by young directors in this period halted a lot of progress. He was well-known to the journal from his work with Rouch, however. Eustache at least was able to complete Du Côté de Robinson in '63 after La soirée was abandoned two years prior, putting him firmly in the era.

For me the last director to emerge during the New Wave period to be fully part of it is Luc Moullet in 1966 with Brigitte et Brigitte, which feels like it comes six years too late in film history to have the impact it should have. Though its threadbare style and construction are at odds with popular cinema in any era! But it's a total masterpiece and while he naturally gets grandfathered in to movement automatically given his Cahiers standing, Moullet is sorely underrepresented in discussions of the movement, in part because he does come so late within it-- but in many ways it's a last gasp.


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 Post subject: Re: Jean-Luc Godard
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:57 pm 
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I think it's kind of impossible to draw definite lines around the New Wave. Wiki presents Eustache saying that The Mother and the Whore is a "key work of post-Nouvelle Vague French cinema." There's the historical New Wave moment (which some would say ended in '62!) and the New Wave directors who continued long after the movement ended and whose later works retained key characteristics of the NW period?movement?genre?style? even decades on (Rohmer, Godard - I'd also argue that Truffaut's work cannot be neatly divided into pre-commercial and commercial eras.)


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 Post subject: Re: Jean-Luc Godard
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:39 pm 
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This should all probably be relocated to an all-purpose New Wave thread (do we have one?), but I just finished watching Gaumont's Nikos Papatakis box, and he's one of the more interesting New Wave / not-New Wave directors.

It's an exemplary collection: every film he made (including both versions of Gloria Mundi), in all new HD transfers, each one accompanied by contextualising extras, plus a full disc of general extras, all with English subs (plus four CDs of audio interviews between Papatakis and Michel Cinemt - unsubbed, obviously), plus a large bilingual book.

His debut film, Les Abysses from 1963, was the only film I'd previously heard of, and I was intrigued by its obnoxious release history. The film was rejected by Cannes, so Papatakis got a bunch of his famous mates (Genet, Sartre, de Beauvoir et al.) to lobby the government with over-the-top claims ("the greatest film I have ever seen!" etc.) so that Minister of Culture Andre Malraux imposed the film on the festival. Papatakis was relentlessly vocal in his work and interviews about the neccessity for revolutionary struggle, but it doesn't seem that those rules applied to himself!

The film was poorly received, and understandably so. Like the two that followed, Thanos and Despina and Gloria Mundi, it's formally impressive (great black and white photography, somewhat inventive editing, solid, flexible mise-en-scene), conceptually bold (with one and a half feet in the gratuitously provocative camp), and with performances pitched so far into hysteria that it's practically impossible to care about anything that the characters go through (ritual humiliation, torture, rape, murder - whatever, just shut these people up!) They're all interesting films, but they're so tonally overegged that watching them is something of a chore. For the record, the "paroxysmic" performances are absolutely intentional on Papatakis's part, but that doesn't make them any good!

The two later films, The Photograph and Walking a Tightrope, are in general much toned down performance-wise, and much the better for it. The Photograph is probably his best work, and it works even though the storyline is completely ridiculous. It's one of those narratives in which a little white lie snowballs into an all-engulfing tragedy that could have been averted at any moment if somebody had just cleared up the confusion (which might just be my least favourite narrative trope of them all), but playing it straight helps sell it, and it does afford one great visual gag late in the piece. The long closing section forestalls and forestalls the inevitable denouement in an annoying but rather clever way, and comes up with a last-minute switcheroo that's pretty smart and appropriate.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The ludicrous plot revolves around one character falling in love with the photo of another character's nonexistent sister, culminating in a road-trip to marry the phantom. The duper, rather than spilling the beans, simply makes the other guy drive around Greek mountain roads in an increasingly reckless manner. (Yep, the guy would rather die in a fiery crash than say, "I don't actually have a sister".) After a very long sequence of dusty roads and close shaves, the car finally has a blow-out and swerves towards the edge of a cliff, but surprisingly doesn't go over. So the driver gets out to change the tyre and his non-future-brother-in-law finally cuts out the middle man (a curiously reticent Mister Fate) and smashes his head in with a rock.


Walking a Tightrope is a bracingly nasty film a clef about Jean Genet (played by Michel Piccoli) and his extremely unpleasant exploitation of various proteges. It's Papatakis' plainest looking film, and apart from one scene his most underplayed, but it's good.

Papatakis was an Ethiopian, and his films are fascinating in the ways they confront head-on issues generally shunned by mainstream French cinema: race, class, immigration, imperialism, terrorism. They're not exactly subtle in the way they couple tragedy and melodrama with Marxism (or in the way in which complex narratives tend to be resolved with explosions!), but they're sincerely engaged.

Nikos Papatakis disdained the New Wave (he found their films offensively trivial) and he really came out of an earlier, more literary tradition. I'm sure he would have been appalled that the Cahiers crew had co-opted them to their movement!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:58 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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zedz wrote:
This should all probably be relocated to an all-purpose New Wave thread (do we have one?)

Sadly we do and it's this one where I make a lot of green posts I surely regret now in my present infinite wisdom ~10 years later. I won't delete my comments, but needless to say I've taken in more information and evidence in the intervening years


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:01 pm 
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Don't we all.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:14 pm 
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This conversation has made me feel really ignorant so does anyone have any recommendations on books that really get into the nitty gritty beyond the surface players that are always talked about? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:36 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Well, if you can wait, I'm working on what I believe will be the most comprehensive resource to this effect. But for now, assuming you're restricted to English-language works, Durgnat's New Wave book from '63 casts the widest net. Neupert's book does get into some of the overshadowed New Wave figures like Valcroze, Kast, and Astruc in depth, so that's probably your best bet for now for exploring a couple new faces (and even he admits blindspots in his study that others need to take up, like the superb Michel Deville)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:20 pm 
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If you're so sure I can certainly wait.

By the way, totally off topic, but does can anyone rate the quality of George Sadoul's Cinema in Arab Counties?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:30 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
like the superb Michel Deville

I admit I'm intrigued by your reaction to his early works. I'm only familiar with his eighties films Death in a French Garden and La Lectrice, which I found (at the time, when I should have been much more easily impressed) rather ordinary, with a strain of back-patting 'erotic' edginess. It seems he kept making films steadily right up until last decade, but he doesn't seem to have had much of an international profile since La Lectrice.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:30 am 
Dot Com Dom
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Don't feel bad about almost missing the boat, my first taste of Deville was On a volé la Joconde, an unexceptional international caper flick from the mid 60s (of which there were far, far too many already!). However, turns out Devillle is a better filmmaker during this period than 80% of the more well-known names (including at least half of the Young Turks). It is utter insanity that there are no English-friendly releases for his early 60s run (I mean, he's not alone, as there's still no Rozier in R1, and hardly any Rouch, and so on all down the line). Marketed right they would be a license to print money and would bring about a significant shift in what are generally considered the best works from the movement. With proper distribution I guarantee Adorable menteuse and Ce soir ou jamais at the least would have been considered among the most obvious go-to highlights of the New Wave... had they ever even been issued on subbed DVDs (or VHSes?) here. Thank God we have all these boutique labels popping up and releasing Z-level soft porn and horror flicks while countless forgotten French masterpieces remain sleeping in film vaults...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:59 pm 
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Sorry to go off topic but I found La lectrice amusing mostly for the idea that a confident sexy woman would continually be surprised over and over again that all of her clients, from precocious teenage boys to aging judges, were hiring her for something more than her reading skills! I don't think that poor lady got to read so much as a paragraph throughout the entire film!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:49 pm 
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Glad to hear there are some less known interesting films worth discovering from the era, looking forward to Michel Deville now. A while back I was going through most of the major figures, and exploring a few of the side alleys, but Jean-Pierre Mocky's **Les Dragueurs** and Jacques Doniol-Valcroze's **L'Eau à la bouche** didn't make me too enthusiastic that it was going to be a bunch of hidden masterpieces. I've got a pile of unread books on Godard and some other new wave people, and films I hope to get to before and during the upcoming list project.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:09 pm 
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Is there a cheaper place than Amazon to get the Paptakis set? 130 euros seems a bit steep for a bunch of films everyone has treated as only a historical curiosity.

Also thanks Dom for the suggestion of the Neupert book. I'm down to the last chapter and it has delivered a lot of great context even if it is structured around the usual suspects in large (seemingly to Neupert's own chagrin).


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:42 pm 
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knives wrote:
Is there a cheaper place than Amazon to get the Paptakis set? 130 euros seems a bit steep for a bunch of films everyone has treated as only a historical curiosity.

Also thanks Dom for the suggestion of the Neupert book. I'm down to the last chapter and it has delivered a lot of great context even if it is structured around the usual suspects in large (seemingly to Neupert's own chagrin).

It's 91E at the moment from fnac, but you'll need to check how their shipping stacks up against amazon's, and whether or not they remove VAT. (I got my set from amazon for under 100E once VAT was removed.)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:58 pm 
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Even if they don't that's cheaper. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:50 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Our forum's French New Wave mini-list project has started. Join us here and please contribute a list and/or add to the discussion! (For those who read the forum without logging in, you will need to log in or register to access the thread)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:38 am 
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This is well outside of the New Wave period which is why, I suppose ironically, I am posting this here. I saw Michel Deville's penultimate film, Almost Peaceful, because of the discussion he's garnered in the list thread and have to admit I liked it a lot in a way that fortunately keeps me befuddled at some of the bad reputation he has here. This is a pretty good film fulfilling Wilder's dictum of three great scenes and no bad ones. In particular the scene of lighting the shabbat candles is amazingly effective for a movie that admittedly has a fairly flat emotional register. Also Simone Abkarian, who I have mostly seen in jerk roles up to now, is fabulous as the nice if hard tailor master just trying to get by. In a lot of ways this is a perfect film without incident that none the less is completely memorable for the people (and some of the images) within.


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