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Emory Cinematheque presents French New Wave film series

Emory Cinematheque's "French New Wave" film series includes "Breathless" (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960), distributed by Rialto Pictures. It screens Feb. 17.

The Emory Film and Media Studies department presents the spring Emory Cinematheque film series, “French New Wave: Classics and Rediscoveries,” beginning Jan. 13.

Screenings are held Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in White Hall 208 and are free and open to the public. Films are screened in 35mm or DCP unless otherwise noted and are subtitled in English. Popcorn will be served at each screening.

The series, curated by Film and Media Studies librarian James Steffen, contextualizes the New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) within the scope of French cinema, opening with New Wave precursor Jean-Pierre Melville’s "Bob Le Flambeur" (1956) and closing with films that examine New Wave directors’ ongoing careers after the movement dissolved.

“Film as an art form owes a vital debt to the revolutionary New Wave,” explains Steffen.

The group of young directors began working in the mid-to-late 1950s, rebelling against the glossy studio productions that dominated French cinema during the at the time, arguing instead for film as a medium for personal expression and developing what became known as the auteur theory. 

Shot with lightweight equipment on low budgets, New Wave films often have an off-the-cuff feel even when carefully scripted. The series includes films by the legendary François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, both noted for their self-conscious, playful nods toward film history. Godard’s "Breathless" (1960) and Truffaut’s "Shoot the Piano Player" (1960) were astonishingly innovative, and they continue to entertain and provoke audiences today. 

“My main motivation is to give audiences the opportunity to see these films in a fresh light by encountering them on the big screen in recent restorations or good quality prints,” says Steffen

Upcoming screenings include the following:

Jan. 13: "Bob Le Flambeur" (1956)

Jan. 20: "Les Cousins" (1959)

Jan. 27: "The 400 Blows" (1959) and "Antoine and Colette" (1962)

Feb. 3: "Shoot the Piano Player" (1960)

Feb. 10: "The Soft Skin" (1964)

Feb. 17: "Breathless" (1960)

For the full schedule for the semester, see the calendar of all film events.

For more information, visit Arts at Emory, or contact Maureen Downs at 404-727-6761.

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