Essay on History of the French New Wave

1690 Words Sep 22nd, 1999 7 Pages
In 1959- early 1960 five directors released debut feature length films that are widely regarded as heralding the start of the French nouvelle vague or French New Wave. Claude Chabrols Le Beau Serge (The Good Serge, 1959) and Les Cousins (The Cousins, 1959) were released, along with Francois Truffauts Les Quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows, 1959), Jean-Luc Godards A bout de souffle (Breathless, 1960) and Alain Resnais Hiroshima mon amour (Hiroshima my love, 1959). These films were the beginning of a revolution in French cinema. In the following years these directors were to follow up their debuts, while other young directors made their first features, in fact between 1959-63 over 170 French directors made their debut films. These films …show more content…
In the years immediately after the war Hollywood made great inroads into European Cinema not least in France. In May of 1946 the Prime Minister of France Leon Bum signed an agreement with the US Secretary of State James Byres which eliminated pre-war quotas on American films. This caused outrage in an Industry already low on capital and fighting to recover after the occupation years. The number of American features increased tenfold while French film output reduced to just seventy-eight features a year. Similar agreements with other European countries worsened the situation as countries which traditionally relied on French Cinema were being saturated by Hollywood. This caused an outrage within the industry and in 1948 the French Government introduced legislation which brought back a quota on American films of 121 per year. Along with this quota, legislation was introduced which would shape the French film industry throughout the 50s. Major bank loans were made available for stable production companies to finance future films and a new admissions tax was introduced. If a film was successful then a large fund would build up which the government made specifically available to producers to fund future films. This encouraged production companies to make popular and safe films with star names and well known

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