An Analysis of the Creative Style of French New Wave Cinema, Illustrated by Godard’s Film “Breathless”

Anran Liu


When delving into the annals of film history, the pivotal juncture of the French New Wave movement in the 1940s stands as an indispensable focal point, leaving an indelible mark on cinematic evolution and the advancement of the film industry. By introducing a distinctive creative paradigm, the movement notably championed the notion of “auteur cinema”, and encouraged novel production methodologies while endorsing personalized themes, distinctive narrative architectures, unique cinematographic aesthetics, and pioneering editing techniques. As a luminary within the constellation of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard orchestrated elaborate and audacious cinematic experiments in the realms of visual and auditory language. Godard dismantled entrenched narrative conventions and cinematic mores of the studio apparatus, thereby clearing a path for a more self-revealing and artistically-inflected cinematic discourse. This cinematic idiom exerted a profound influence not only upon contemporaneous directors but also furnished subsequent generations of cineastes with a wellspring of inspiration.

From the vantage point of Godard, this research attempts to explore and synthesize the historical backdrop of the New Wave era, the idiosyncrasies and shared traits of movie auteurs, and analyzed in a meticulous manner of his magnum opus, “Breathless”. This analytical research encompasses editing methodologies, cinematographic modalities, narrative architectures, and proclivities toward expression with the overarching goal of unearthing the unique cinematic lexicon emblematic of the New Wave. Conclusively, this study pivots back to appraise the French New Wave, unraveling its cultural import and historical limitations.

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