Even though many great filmmakers are associated with the French New Wave, three of them stand out as the unofficial representatives of the movement: Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Claude Chabrol. However, Chabrol rides high atop the wave crest by making, arguably, the first film of Nouvelle Vague, Le Beau Serge. Like his fellow auteurs of the plastic arts, Chabrol wrote many an article on his theories of film, one of which film scholar Adrian Martin cites in an audio commentary about the filmmaker. Martin describes Chabrol’s sensibilities regarding “theme” — essentially arguing that what matters isn’t found in the script, but in the mind of the filmmaker.
Now, before all of you screenwriters bite my head off, let me explain. First of all, to me, a script most certainly matters (for most films anyway.) Secondly, it’s important for us to put Chabrol’s statement into context, as well as brush up on our French history and how it pertains to its cinema at the time of the birth of the French New Wave.
In order to have a more well-rounded appreciation and understanding of the aesthetic, narrative, and stylistic affections adopted by the French New Wave filmmakers, I’d say a good place to start your study (or eventually end up) is in what was going on in post-WWII France…
Check out the rest of The Script Doesn’t Matter: French New Wave Director Claude Chabrol’s View on Style, originally posted on nofilmschool.com.