The New York Times has a good article on French New Wave crime films of the ‘50s and ‘60s tied in with their coverage of 38 French noir films being screened as part of Film Forum’s French Crime Wave film festival.
“A film is like a battleground,” says Samuel Fuller, playing himself, in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 “Pierrot le Fou,” one of 38 noirs in Film Forum’s ambitious, entertaining, blood-and-doom-soaked series “French Crime Wave,” which begins Friday and runs through Sept. 11. The line seems like a throwaway in that busy, demanding picture, but it resonates strongly in the context of this series because when the young French cineastes known as the New Wave went to war with their elders in the late ’50s and early ’60s, the crime film was, in many ways, the field on which the decisive battle was joined.
“This genre became the contested territory for a variety of reasons, chiefly because movies about crooks could be made on the skimpy budgets available to budding auteurs like Godard and François Truffaut, his Cahiers du Cinéma colleague. Besides, the young critics felt, with some justice, that the established French cinema, which relied heavily on historical dramas and adaptations of classic novels, wasn’t reflecting contemporary reality. Godard once remarked that “before us, the only person who really tried to see France was Jacques Becker” (who has three films in this series) because he told stories about gangsters. And the younger filmmakers admired the speed and unpretentiousness of American movies. Godard dedicated his debut feature, “Breathless” (1959), to Monogram Pictures, a small Hollywood studio that specialized in low-budget westerns and thrillers.”
TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE
It's worth a trip over to the French Crime Wave home page for a look at the films playing during the festival and their synopsis.
TO GO TO THE FRENCH CRIME WAVE FILM FESTIVAL PAGE CLICK HERE