Roughly the middle of the last century was a witness to a lush development of the new and exciting art forms throughout the globe. Filmmaking, while still young, was swiftly covering the distance that other arts have already accomplished. The first purpose of the motion pictures, as shown in the famous Lumiere brothers train episode, was to record the passing life. As filmmaking became more popular, its usage began to widen. It soon was a preferred means of entertainment for most the U.S. thanks to Hollywood. While its directors and production companies were creating beautiful stories that attracted millions of viewers the post-war France unorthodox intellectuals started putting filmmaking to a new use, that of self-expression. Narrative story and author's self-expression are the most characteristic elements in the Classic Hollywood and French New Wave movements respectively.
The most important source of the New Wave lay in the theoretical writings of Alexandre Astruc and, more prominently, of André Bazin, whose thought molded an entire generation of filmmakers, critics, and scholars. In 1948 Astruc formulated the concept of the caméra-stylo ("camera-pen-), in which film was regarded as a form of audiovisual language and the filmmaker, therefore, as a kind of writer in light. Bazin's influential journal Cahiers du Cinéma, founded in 1951, elaborated this notion and became the headquarters of a group of young cinéphiles ("film-lovers-) "the critics Franzois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette, and Eric Rohmer "who were to become the major directors of the New Wave (Nottingham).
The French New Wave directors took advantage of the new technology that was available to them in the late 1950s, which enabled them to work on location rather than in the studio. They used lightweight hand-held cameras, developed by the Eclair company for use in documentaries, faster film stocks, which required less light, and lightweight sound and lighting equipment.