Amidst all of the counter-culture movements, rock and roll frenzy, teddy boys, mods, surfers and anything that defines the cultural (but nevertheless fun) chaos of the sixties landscape, a sophisticated postmodernist phenomenon was born.“La Nouvelle Vague” was carefully accumulated by the cinephiles of Jean-Luc Goddard and Francois Truffaut (among many others), who curated a French cinema that offered a raw, unpolished and energetic portrayal of life for a raw, unpolished and energetic new generation of movie goers. During its 7-year spree of greatness, we were left with a lot of iconic movie stills and ideas that will help you to make the French New Wave style happen in your place!
“Breathless” in 2016
Traditionally, though, it is not accepted as the first French New Wave film (this honor goes to Claude Chabrol’s “Handsome Serge” from 1958). However, Goddard definitely is the youth’s favorite for his ever-lasting appeal of a grown Hipster, who never leaves his stylish apartment without a cup of coffee and a pack of strong French cigarettes. “Breathless” was a surprise hit that instantly elevated Goddard to the same status as Truffaut (who made it big a year earlier with “400 Blows”). Okay, to obtain the textbook “New Wave” setting, what you need is a pretty much empty room, with just bits and pieces of accessory elements. Nothing oppressive and (this will sound weird), nothing that’s too optimistic or flashy. Let’s take the storyline of “The Little Soldier”, the Goddard’s masterstroke from 1961, as an example. Imagine that your room is your ambuscade, your cheap hotel escape, where you spend nights during your espionage mission. White elements of the 60’s “mid-century modern” interior design, minimalist (guess we’re overkilling it) approach to the room’s dressings, and maybe a retrofuturistic floor lamp next to the bed. When you got the appropriate setting, hang this one for the complete “I loathe the Bourgeoisie” ambiance!
“400 Blows” Will Be Enough
We couldn’t pass on this one (it has a flabbergastin’ 100% fresh rating on the Rotten Tomatoes). The last freeze frame of the little “been-through-it-all” Antoine who sees the coastline for the first time in his life is so emotionally striking in its simplicity that audiences around the France and outside its borders were left stunned, speechless and in all kinds of other conditions that rendered them unable to react properly. It is also pretty much possible that without this cinematic feat there would be no talk of French New Wave cinema at all. This canvas art is the mental picture of Antoine Doinel, the main protagonist of Truffaut’s motion picture chef d’ouvere. Or a mental picture of any other youngster, going astray and being incapable of making out any sense of it. If there’s a talent to show sadness and despair in a way that makes both emotions awe-inspiring, it has to be put to use. Truffaut did his move in 1959. Dailing Su makes her’s in 2016! What we’re striving for interior-wise in this case? The same half-empty office setting, neutral tones (with an exception of natural wooden elements and their deep brown), geometric forms and simple furnishings (a pair of Eiffel Side or Cesca Chairs)!
Let Me Take A Picture of You!
Polaroid photo camera is another nuance, that might come in handy while infusing your place with the French New Wave style. The device which has now gained a dedicated cult following is widely believed to be the centerpiece of any true Hipster Dandy’s set. Warhol used it and so did the youth of France. It’s the only way you can make an improvised photo session of that student girl, a one-night lover who turns out to be a government’s subordinate, a mercenary, that’s too deeply in love with you to pull the trigger. Alright, this smells like a great script for a fan-made tribute which will never happen to be. The artwork, taking into account its vibrancy, will be a fitting piece for any interior that follows the more colorful examples of the 60’s interior design. The somewhat naive depiction of the device is in a complete accordance with the chaotic and spontaneous nature of the French New Wave Cinema! An instant an honest expression just like the little “square thing” that comes out after the shutter makes that familiar sound.
The Celebration of Life
The French New Wave cinema wasn’t just about death, redemption, and betrayal. It was also about youth, love, kitsch and the celebration of life, and cultural attractions in general. As the title of the movement already indicates, the centerpiece of the cultural phenomenon was, of course, France (although the zeitgeist was felt all around the globe, even in the strictly regulated cinema of the USSR) and its capital Paris. Jean-Paul Belmondo projected the image of the textbook “New Wave Frenchman”, letting a Gitane always hang freely from his lip, chasing ladies and being an adorable jerk that we despise and love at the same time. This is the exact vibe you’ll get in case you google the title of the particular movement. A very stereotypically French thing, but also one of the stereotypes that we’ve embraced and rightly so! And to obtain the French New Wave style, you have to embrace the French style beforehand!
The Most Popular Thing in the World is the Ice Cream
“Happiness 2” by Annisa Tiara Utami
Okay, the titular statement is a really debatable one, though the ice-cream is, of course, an insanely popular thing. As it turns out, it can also be used as an accessory. The progressive cinema of the 60’s France occasionally did use it as such, purely for its symbolic value and the kitschy appeal. Women were dancing around in their sheath dresses and Mary Jane shoes, holding the refreshing candy as the cold weapon to smear the guy’s nose with. The New Wave cinema, despite experimentation and the somewhat crude visual language as its outcome, was, in most cases, an awesomely romantic experience. The chemistry was practically always there, ensuring a deep impact in case one of the heroes was “taken away” during the trip. The ice cream, in a sense, represents the “unbearable lightness of being” characteristic to the whole French New Wave cine-game. A postmodernist’s delight where a food product becomes a tool to represent the newfound sexual liberties. If you think this might work out for you, you should consider getting some of the more colorful “Austin Powers” Retrofuturism vibe. And a drop of psychedelia to give the whole thing a stylistic punch with an egg chair or two!
French New Wave style with its highly intellectual appeal, pure visual taste and the subject matters covered, was a truly modern and smart entertainment for those who dig art and all of its mysterious ways. Creame approves and encourages to explore further!