Sunday, October 16, 2011

La Nouvelle Vague - #1

My favorite moment in the history of film so far has to be La Nouvelle Vague, roughly the period from 1958-1962 when a group of young French cinephiles took their passion and redefined what was possible for the medium.  I'd like to make this the beginning of a new series of posts, in the future also covering Italian Neorealism, the American New Wave, and perhaps even the German or Iranian New Wave.
The purpose, highlight the must-see films of the "movement".  If you see gaps or have suggestions, I'd love to hear from you.  It's tricky because a good number of the key works of the Nouvelle Vague are still hard to find stateside.  Here goes:

*Une histoire d'eau - Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard (1958)
Le Beau Serge - Claude Chabrol (1958)
*Operation 'Beton' - Jean-Luc Godard (1958)
*Une vie - Alexandre Astruc (1958)
*Blue jeans - Jacques Rozier (1958)
*Moi, un noir - Jean Rouch (1958)
Les amants - Louis Malle (1958)
The 400 Blows - Francois Truffaut (1959)
Les Cousins - Claude Chabrol (1959)
*Tous les garcons s'appellent Patrick - Jean-Luc Godard (1959)
*La tete contre les murs - Georges Franju (1959)
A double tour - Claude Chabrol (1959)
*Le signe du lion - Eric Rohmer (1959)
Hiroshima Mon Amour - Alain Resnais (1959)
Breathless - Jean-Luc Godard (1960)
Shoot the Piano Player - Francois Truffaut (1960)
*L'eau a la bouche - Jacques Doniol-Valcroze (1960)
Les bonnes femmes - Claude Chabrol (1960)
Eyes Without a Face - Georges Franju (1960)
*Les godelureax - Claude Chabrol (1961)
Lola - Jacques Demy (1961)
Last Year at Marienbad - Alain Resnais (1961)
*La pyramide humaine - Jean Rouch (1961)
*Chronique d'un ete - Jean Rouch (1961)
*La proie pour l'ombre - Alexandre Astruc (1961)
Paris nous appartient - Jacques Rivette (1961)
Une femme est une femme - Jean-Luc Godard (1961)
*Ce soir ou jamais - Michel Deville (1961)
*Description d'un combat - Chris Marker (1961)
*Bonne chance, Charlie - Jean-Louis Richard (1962)
*La punition - Jean Rouch (1962)
Jules and Jim - Francois Truffaut (1962)
*Adieu Philippine - Jacques Rozier (1962)
Vivre Sa Vie - Jean-Luc Godard (1962)
Cleo de 5 a 7 - Agnes Varda (1962)
*Adorable menteuse - Michel Deville (1962)
Antoine et Colette - Francois Truffaut (1962)

*The ones I have marked are ones I still need to see myself.


  1. This is a monumental list here Jeffrey, and certainly this is a major movement for cineastes to exam with the utmost gusto. I can't detect any serious omissions though I will say to you that Astruc's UNE VIE is truly essential. I saw it over the past five or six months, and was totally overwhelmed for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the extraordinary performance of Maria Schell and ravishing color cinematography.

    Really great and essential list here!!!!

  2. Thanks so much, Sam! Yes, I've been wanting to see that Astruc for a very long time. I will have to do that soon.

    I really appreciate the incredibly kind words and your wonderful addition here. Thanks, Sam!