Introduction to the Films of the French New Wave
This class will introduce students to a number of classic films of the French New Wave, perhaps the most important and emblematic moment in modern cinema, and a still a point of reference for filmmakers ranging from Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese to Alfonso Cuarón and Wong Kar-Wai. Along the way, we will look at the theoretical and cultural factors that help explain this extraordinary flowering of filmmaking talent in the late 1950s and early 1960s; we will also be reading some important short essays from the period that will help bring the films’ originality into focus, as well as more recent scholarship. General points to be explored include: France and American popular culture; post-war economic transformations and consumerism; changing norms of sex and gender; the documentary image; the subversion and pastiche of genre; the ideology of form. All films available for streaming, with subtitles. No knowledge of French is necessary.