French cinema: the Nouvelle Vague and beyond

Ref: C2228342

During the 1960s the French Nouvelle Vague (“New Wave”) revolutionised world cinema by tearing up the rulebook. Film was now seen as a medium of personal expression and experimentation, leading to the rise of the “auteur” with directors such as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut. This course will explore the factors which led to the emergence of the Nouvelle Vague, how it differed from the cinematic norms of the time, and the key figures within the movement. Furthermore, it will examine how the Nouvelle Vague influenced filmmaking across the world and what happened to French cinema in its aftermath. Plus, of course, some of the most innovative, exciting and joyous films ever made. Fantastique!

Course aim

To provide an introduction to the French Nouvelle Vague and how it challenged, changed and influenced cinema.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explain the factors which led to the development of the French Nouvelle Vague.
  • Identify the key directors associated with the Nouvelle Vague.
  • Identify the key films of the Nouvelle Vague.
  • Place the films within an industrial, social and political context.
  • Assess how the Nouvelle Vague influenced cinema across the world.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

No previous knowledge is assumed, just a desire to watch and talk about cinema. Among the films to be discussed are: The 400 Blows (1959); Breathless (1960); Last Year at Marienbad ((1961); Jules et Jim (1962); The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964); Weekend (1967); Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974).

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

French cinema: the Nouvelle Vague and beyond

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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