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French New Wave (Pocket Essentials) [Paperback]

Chris Wiegand
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 7 Jan 2005 --  
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French New Wave (Pocket Essentials) French New Wave (Pocket Essentials) 4.4 out of 5 stars (5)
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Book Description

7 Jan 2005 Pocket Essentials
By the mid-1960s, the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and Claude Chabrol had changed the rules of film-making forever, but the French New Wave as such was over. This guide reviews and analyses all of the major films in the movement and offers profiles of its principal stars, such as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina and Brigitte Bardot. There is also an introductory essay which examines the social context of the movement in France as well as the directors' considerable influence on later-generations of film-makers across the globe.

Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Essentials; 2nd Revised edition edition (7 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904048447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904048442
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,435,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'A meticulously assembled guidebook covering the influential period of Gallic filmmaking.' -- Boxoffice Magazine, April, 2002

'An excellent primer on the movement.' --

'Entertaining and highly informative, it is certainly the most instantly accessible work on the subject.' -- Leeds Guide, December, 2001

'Manages, despite its brevity, to be both comprehensive and take a critical viewpoint...A fine study.' -- Crime Time, Number 26, 2002 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another essential Pocket Essential. 5 Feb 2003
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
I really love the Pocket Essentials range, budget-priced tomes that take a brief overview of a cultural subject, be they a film director, a genre, a writer or a TV programme. Chris Wiegand's book on the French New Wave is up there with the best of this range- looking at an overview of the Nouvelle Vague in a minor, thematic breakdown- as the PE Oliver Stone or Vietnam books do.
The major films of the New Wave are placed in these chapters- thus the cool early works such as Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud & Les Amants are located in The Birth of the Cool, while 'Guns, Girls & Gaouloises' focuses on A Bout de Souffle et Tirez Sur Le Pianiste (though you could easily place Bande a Part or Lift to the Scaffold here also). Wiegand points out that Godard's short Il Nuovo Mondo (from RoGoPaG) fits along with Chris Marker's La Jetee, Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 & Godard's full length Alphaville- noting how the Nouvelle Vague experimented with the SF-genre (Godard's later Weekend has many SF qualities- especially compared to JG Ballard's Crash or Cronenberg's adaptation). I would like to see someone discuss the SF New Wave inflections elsewhere...
As with the other PE's it gives a nice Bibliography of the best works on the genre (such as Douchet's French New Wave or Godard on Godard)- though the note on the availability is mildly incorrect (it's still relatively easy to purchase Jules et Jim, for example). The list of pertinent websites is very helpful.
Regardless, this is a good introduction & primer to a most influential film movement- even if you don't buy into their auteur theory (as William Goldman does not in Which Lie Did I Tell?). A fun read, even if familiar with films such as Zazie dans La Metro, Les Quatre Cents Coups or Pierret Le Fou. A top concise read from those nice folks at Pocket Essentials...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Against the Tide 16 Dec 2006
By Clifford Thurlow VINE VOICE
New Wave films were sensual, melancholic, capturing the zeitgeist and reflecting the turbulent social and political changes that characterized the 1950s and 1960s. The Paris Riots in May 1968 could have been scripted by writers of the New Wave. Through critiques and editorials, they conceived the principle that the director, like the author of a book, was the auteur of the film and formulated credits that began A Film By - a format readily adopted by directors everywhere. More significantly, la Nouvelle Vague filmmakers challenged the commercial Hollywood notion of movies as entertainment (or business, or propaganda) and perceived film as an art form. As the art form.

Although these writer/directors inevitably moved on to make features, one more achievement was that they had provided new dignity and a sense of place to the short film. In a short there is an opportunity to reshuffle the cards of film language and take on themes commercial producers avoid on both commercial grounds and the fear of the new. There is a certain comfort in the dull warmth of Plato's cave, our backs to the sun watching shadows on the wall. Show us a glimpse of life beyond the walls of our own narrow world, and the mind will not immediately compute what it is seeing. It is the brave artist - or auteur - prepared to swim against the tide who often finds the greatest success; or at least critical success.

The growth of impressionistic, poetic, surreal, transgressional, boundary breaking, avant-garde exploratory films gave rise to the festival circuit, as well as the introduction of Art House cinemas where audiences can expect to see films that are difficult, complex, controversial or just plain foreign.

Little of this would have been achieved with the French New Wave and Chris Wiegand in this concise Pocket Essential reminds us once again of the debt we owe Truffaut, Rivette, Chabrol, Godard, Rohmer and, of course, the great Andre Bazin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent pocket guide to fascinating subject 1 May 2012
By Simon
Packing a great deal of information into a slim volume, this book gives a very useful guide to the landmark cinema of Truffaut, Godard, Malle and their contemporaries. The background detail puts the whole 'wave' movement into a logical context, exploring their influences and the circumstances that allowed such an explosion of new talent to occur as and when it did. The author also explains the styles and choices of subject matter that were favoured before reviewing the most significant movies of the genre, from AND GOD CREATED WOMAN to PIERROT LE FOU, which he clearly sees as the ultimate expression of the 'wave' - and I guess he's not alone there!
The book further details how each film came to be made, how it was received when released and what it's influence on later films and directors would be.Although clearly an fan of the New Wave, the author is in no way star-struck and his ratings (out of 5) are sometimes brutally objective and logical. This all makes for an ideal guide which anyone, like myself, who has recently 'discovered' French New Wave films and is hungry for information will find a great help. I found that having read it cover to cover I have referred back to it frequently ever since, so it's a book that will stay on my shelves and rapidly become dog-eared from re-reading - and what better recommendation can there be?
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2.0 out of 5 stars so so 30 April 2014
By DaveM
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a brief intro to the nouvelle vague is followed by a listing and review of the so-called important films you should see.
this isn't a great intro the subject and you'd be better off spending more on a serious book
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