… Film lovers are sick people …
– François Truffaut
When the Director becomes Author : the French New Wave
“My films, you say, are literary : The things I say could be said in a novel. Yes, but what do I say ? After all, I do not say, I show. I show people who move and speak. That is all I know how to do, but that is my true subject. The rest, I agree, is literature.”
– Eric Rohmer
In the closing credits of modern cinema, it is a ritual to see “Written and Directed by”. Rarely do we remember that, behind this simple expression lie some critics from the early 1950’s in France and their unavoidable imprint on the history of cinema : Truffaut, Godard, Resnais, Rohmer, Rivette are only few to name. Equipped with no money but full of zeal, these minds defined Cinema in terms of screenplay, editing, and narrative. So heavy was their influence that filmmakers from various traditions across the world, ever since, could only stand up and take notice of these young folks who redefined what it means to make a film.
They coined the term Auteur, referring to the director becoming the full-fledged author of the film. Their understanding was that a film must be similar to a book or novel, and should therefore count only one author. As critics, first, they offered a unique principle : the screenwriter and the director must be the same person, with full control over his creation, just like a novel writer would. No more interferences and visions lost in translation between screenwriter and director ; and a complete artistic independence from the studios as well. They were ridiculed at first, and thought that leading French cinema by the example would be the best demonstration.
This course offers an introduction, and more, to the French New Wave cinema of the 1950’s onwards. The sessions explore specific films, their background, their shoot and aesthetics. Comprehending the visual style unique to each auteur, we discover the meanings and values behind their cinema. We shall learn how screenplays were written back then, and how the problems of depicting action in movie-making were solved by these auteurs. Technical details like edit cuts/jump cuts, camera stylo, camera movements, as well as themes and aesthetic choices, will be at the heart of our participative discussions.
The final objective of the course is to inspire participants to pick up the camera, and start shooting short movies. Your turn now : become an auteur !
How this course works
The participants and the instructor meet on the decided weekly timing via a group Skype, for a session of film analysis based on the movie of that week. The students are expected to attend the session after having watched the movie on their own. Links will be share with them to screen the films beforehand. Participative responses are encouraged through the session, in the phases of textual analysis proper and during the open debates and discussions.
In the course of the second month of this course, the exploration of the French New Wave movies is complemented with an optional Questions & Answers session with the instructor. The session is based on the questions of the participants.
Finally, towards the concluding session of the course, participants will be asked to write a short essay based on their understanding of the New Wave and all the effects these films left on them. These essays will be considered for publication on the IST Blogs space. Group exchanges and feedbacks on these original essays will be done during the last session.
Duration : 8 weekly sessions of 90 minutes each
Dates and Times : decided with the participants
Modality : Skype Videoconference
Open to : All · No pre-requisites
At IST, a new edition of each course is organised upon 3 confirmed participants
FILMS & TEXTS COVERED
Hiroshima My Love
A Man and A Woman
My Night at Maud’s
A Summer's Tale
The Beautiful Troublemaker
My Life to Live
The New Wave
French New Wave
The French New Wave : An Artistic School
Michel Marie & Richard Neupert
The session dates for the next edition of this course will be set
based on the common availability of the registrants.
The meaning of Auteur
What brought the change ?
From critics to art makers
Influences on modern cinema
Inspirations of the Auteur
Themes of youth
Film under study : François Truffaut, 400 Blows (1959) (details)
Changes in narrative
Non-linearity in film-making
What does the story want to say ?
Film under study : Alain Resnais, Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) (details)
Introduction to jump shots
Re-invention of editing under budget
The audience fills in the lines
Film under study : Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless (1960) (details)
Transition to color – New Wave style
Evolution of themes
Film under study : Claude Lelouch, A Man and A Woman (1960) (details)
Threading the story
Role of improvisation in film-making
Books, philosophy, films, and politics
Questions & Answers
Questions & Answers session.
Open discussions based on questions from the participants.
Participant’s Essay Discussion
Experience with the Texts of this Course : 4 years +
As an aspiring filmmaker, no genre has had a deeper impact on me than Drama. The French have been the masters in bringing Drama to screen – settings so humble, so constrained, yet complex emotions run throughout. Discovering the French New Wave proved to be a new wave in my own understanding of cinema. I believe that any good story can be summarised in one single sentence. How can emotions be brought out from that sentence ? I learnt this from the masters of the French New Wave.
Akshansh Singh is a Dubai based writer, and short-film maker.
Discover his courses here.
The financial contribution is open
beyond a minimum amount of
or the equivalent in your local currency
Check the conversion rates here
8 Sessions of Film Analysis
9 Films Studied
1 Questions and Answers session
Reading Material in soft copy
Instructor’s Notes for each session
HD Audio Recordings of the sessions
A new edition of this course will be organised
upon 3 confirmed registrations