French New Wave

French New Wave

47 Episodes

There was cinema before the French New Wave, and there was cinema after. The explosion of creative innovation that emanated from France in the late 1950s and early ’60s forever altered the course of film history by opening up new avenues of stylistic experimentation and trumpeting the concept of the “auteur” director, whose aesthetic vision and thematic obsessions took center stage. Led by a coterie of passionate film critics and cinephiles who took up cameras—including the radical Jean-Luc Godard (BREATHLESS, PIERROT LE FOU), the romantic François Truffaut (THE 400 BLOWS, JULES AND JIM), the restless Agnès Varda (CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7, LE BONHEUR), the experimental Jacques Rivette (PARIS BELONGS TO US, CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING), the modernist Alain Resnais (HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR), and the classicist Eric Rohmer (MY NIGHT AT MAUD’S, CLAIRE’S KNEE)—the French New Wave inspired filmmakers around the world by liberating cinema from commercial demands and reclaiming it in the name of unfettered personal expression.

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French New Wave
  • The Soft Skin

    Episode 1

    Directed by François Truffaut • 1964 • France
    Starring Jean Desailly, Françoise Dorléac, Nelly Benedetti

    François Truffaut followed up the international phenomenon JULES AND JIM with this tense tale of infidelity. The unassuming Jean Desailly is perfectly cast as a celebrated literary scholar, ...

  • Band of Outsiders

    Episode 2

    Directed by Jean-Luc Godard • 1964 • France
    Starring Anna Karina, Sami Frey, Claude Brasseur

    Four years after BREATHLESS, Jean-Luc Godard reimagined the gangster film even more radically with BAND OF OUTSIDERS. In it, two restless young men (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of bo...

  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

    Episode 3

    Directed by Jacques Demy • 1964 • France
    Starring Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo

    The angelically beautiful Catherine Deneuve was launched to stardom by this dazzling musical heart-tugger from Jacques Demy. She plays an umbrella-shop owner’s delicate daughter, glowing with first love for a h...

  • Le bonheur

    Episode 4

    Directed by Agnès Varda • 1965 • France
    Starring Jean-Claude Drouot, Claire Drouot, Marie-France Boyer

    Though married to the good-natured, beautiful Thérèse (Claire Drouot), young husband and father François (Jean-Claude Drouot) finds himself falling unquestioningly into an affair with an attrac...

  • Pierrot le fou

    Episode 5

    Directed by Jean-Luc Godard • 1965 • France
    Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani

    Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), and leaves the bourgeois world behind. Yet ...

  • Alphaville

    Episode 6

    Directed by Jean-Luc Godard • 1965 • France
    Starring Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff

    A cockeyed fusion of science fiction, pulp characters, and surrealist poetry, Godard’s irreverent journey to the mysterious Alphaville remains one of the least conventional films of all time. Eddie...

  • Les créatures

    Episode 7

    Directed by Agnès Varda • 1966 • France
    Starring Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Eva Dahlbeck

    One of Agnès Varda least-seen films is also one of her most fascinating: an eccentrically imaginative science-fiction fantasia that touches on human nature, free will, and the creative process. Worki...

  • Masculin féminin

    Episode 8

    Directed by Jean-Luc Godard • 1966 • France
    Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud, Chantal Goya, Marlène Jobert

    With MASCULIN FÉMININ (“Masculine Feminine”), ruthless stylist and iconoclast Jean-Luc Godard introduces the world to “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola,” through a gang of restless youths engag...

  • The Nun

    Episode 9

    Directed by Jacques Rivette • 1966 • France
    Starring Anna Karina, Liselotte Pulver, Micheline Presle

    Adapted from Denis Diderot's novel, Jacques Rivette's THE NUN follows a rebellious nun (played by an incandescent Anna Karina) who is forced into taking her vows. Initially shunted into a restri...

  • Weekend

    Episode 10

    Directed by Jean-Luc Godard • 1967 • France
    Starring Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne

    This scathing late-sixties satire from Jean-Luc Godard is one of cinema’s great anarchic works. Determined to collect an inheritance from a dying relative, a bourgeois couple travel across the French countryside while...

  • La collectionneuse

    Episode 11

    Directed by Eric Rohmer • 1967 • France
    Starring Haydée Politoff, Patrick Bauchau, Daniel Pommereulle

    A bombastic, womanizing art dealer and his painter friend go to a seventeenth-century villa on the Riviera for a relaxing summer getaway. But their idyll is disturbed by the presence of the bohe...

  • The Young Girls of Rochefort

    Episode 12

    Directed by Jacques Demy • 1967 • France
    Starring Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Dorléac

    Jacques Demy followed up THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG with another musical about missed connections and second chances, this one a more effervescent confection. Twins Delphine and Solange, a dance instructor and...

  • My Night at Maud’s

    Episode 13

    Directed by Eric Rohmer • 1969 • France

    In the brilliantly accomplished centerpiece of Rohmer's Moral Tales series, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Jean-Louis, one of the great conflicted figures of sixties cinema. A pious Catholic engineer in his early thirties, he lives by a strict moral code in ...

  • Claire’s Knee

    Episode 14

    Directed by Eric Rohmer • 1970 • France

    "Why would I tie myself to one woman if I were interested in others?" says Jerôme, even as he plans on marrying a diplomat's daughter by summer's end. Before then, Jerôme spends his July at a lakeside boardinghouse nursing crushes on the sixteen-year-old L...

  • Donkey Skin

    Episode 15

    Directed by Jacques Demy • 1970 • France
    Starring Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, Delphine Seyrig

    In this lovingly crafted, wildly eccentric adaptation of a classic French fairy tale, Jacques Demy casts Catherine Deneuve as a princess who must go into hiding as a scullery maid in order to fend o...

  • Murmur of the Heart

    Episode 16

    Directed by Louis Malle • 1971 • France, Italy, West Germany
    Starring Benoît Ferreux, Lea Massari, Daniel Gélin

    Louis Malle’s critically acclaimed MURMUR OF THE HEART gracefully combines elements of comedy, drama, and autobiography in a candid portrait of a precocious adolescent boy’s sexual mat...

  • Love in the Afternoon

    Episode 17

    Directed by Eric Rohmer • 1972 • France

    Though happily married to his adoring wife Hélène, with whom he is expecting a second child, the thoroughly bourgeois business executive Frédéric cannot banish from his mind the multitude of attractive Parisian women who pass him by every day. His flirtati...

  • Day for Night

    Episode 18

    Directed by François Truffaut • 1973 • France
    Starring Jacqueline Bisset, Valentina Cortese, Jean-Pierre Léaud

    This affectionate farce from François Truffaut about the joys and strife of moviemaking is one of his most beloved films. Truffaut himself appears as the harried director of a frivolous...

  • Céline and Julie Go Boating

    Episode 19

    Directed by Jacques Rivette • 1974 • France
    Starring Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, Bulle Ogier

    Whiling away a summer in Paris, director Jacques Rivette, working in close collaboration with his stars and coconspirators Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier, set out to rewrite the rules of cin...

  • Lacombe, Lucien

    Episode 20

    Directed by Louis Malle • 1974 • France, Italy, West Germany
    Starring Pierre Blaise, Aurore Clément, Holger Löwenadler

    One of the first French films to address the issue of collaboration during the German occupation, Louis Malle’s brave and controversial LACOMBE, LUCIEN traces a young peasant’s ...

  • Black Moon

    Episode 21

    Directed by Louis Malle • 1975 • France, Germany
    Starring Cathryn Harrison, Joe Dallesandro, Thérèse Ghiese

    Louis Malle meets Lewis Carroll in this bizarre and bewitching trip down the rabbit hole. After skirting the horrors of a mysterious war being waged in the countryside, beautiful young Lil...

  • My American Uncle

    Episode 22

    Directed by Alain Resnais • 1980 • France
    Starring Gérard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre

    MY AMERICAN UNCLE (a.k.a. MON ONCLE D’AMERIQUE) is unique in cinema—one of the oddest movies ever to emerge from the hand of director Alain Resnais, and also perhaps his most popular, steeped in elem...

  • The Last Metro

    Episode 23

    Directed by François Truffaut • 1980 • France
    Starring Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve, Jean Poiret

    Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve star as members of a French theater company living under the German occupation during World War II in François Truffaut’s gripping, humanist character st...