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French New Wave Cinema

            The French New Wave Movement of the mid twentieth century was an artistic revolution in cinema, but the movement not only made implications in the austere world but also in the worlds of politics and social spheres. Peter John Graham's book, The French New Wave: Critical Landmarks, debates the social and political implications of the New Wave Movement. Graham believes that the New Wave revolution was a product of youth rebellion in a post war era. He provides in depth analysis of the sociopolitical underpinnings as well as repercussions of some of the most iconic New Wave films. The many cliches about French cinema engulf beautiful women, suave male protagonists, and existential angst. Graham denounces the film cliches of the nineteen-fifties by analyzing the core values that defined the New Wave Cinema.
             According to Graham, the divergent feature of New Wave films that separated them from the films of the past was the idea of filming the present. Films of this age were modernist and embodied the here and now of the youth. Graham vividly argues that the French New Wave Cinema movement was an artistic upheaval that delved into the social and political scenes of France through its rebellious youth and the rebellious nature of films. The ravages of World War II not only left France physically marred, but it left the nation's political scene in disarray. France was split into two opposing political parties, the Left Wings and the Right Wings. Left Wings were humanists that believed all art should have a social message or purpose. Right Wings believed that art should exist for its own sake or to express truths. The political division between Left Wingers and Right Wingers drew a line between filmic groups. The question of cinema focusing on socially progressive films or aesthetically progressive films divided the film world beyond repair. .
             Graham brilliantly reveals the complexity of politics as they played out in the film industry by quoting Antoine de Baecque, a New Wave journalist living during the movement; "It is a paradox of the New Wave, that most modernity is born from the Left.

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