Episode 56: The 400 Blows, Breathless, and The French New Wave

In an episode that acts as an introduction to one of the most exciting and influential periods of cinematic history, Welcome To The Party Pal hosts Mitch Lucas and Michael Shields explore the French New Wave, an art film movement which emerged in the late 1950s. The movement was characterized by its rejection of traditional filmmaking conventions in favor of experimentation and a spirit of iconoclasm. New Wave filmmakers explored new approaches to editing, visual style, and narrative, as well as engagement with the social and political upheavals of the era, often making use of irony or exploring existential themes. In that respect, the French New Wave is often considered one of the most influential movements in the history of cinema. To fully expound upon this incredibly influential period of filmmaking, Mitch and Michael focus their sights on two of the era’s most celebrated films, François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. The 400 Blows (in French: Les Quatre Cents Coups) is a 1959 drama, and the directorial debut of François Truffaut, centering on Antoine Doinel, a misunderstood adolescent in Paris who struggles with his parents and teachers due to his rebellious behavior. Breathless (in French: À Bout de Souffle; "out of breath") is a 1960 French crime and drama film written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard about a wandering criminal (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and his American girlfriend (Jean Seberg). This episode is not one to miss as it shines a light on a bold, and revolutionary movement in filmmaking that forever changed the aesthetic and possibilities of cinema, and inspired some of today’s most gifted directors and storytellers.


 

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