The French New Wave, 50 years old today, was the greatest criminal enterprise in cinema history. A gang of filmmakers led a raid on the Bank of Tradition. They emptied its funds with the sole purpose of closing a near-bankrupt heritage, so that a new art could begin. Drawing aid from their own fund of resources (literature, Italian neo-realism, vérité documentary, the Hollywood B-movie), they created a new syndicate in screen culture. Cinema, almost overnight, became an organised bandit art, united in sedition, steadfast in rupture, forthright in innovation, enduring in immediacy.
Well, the article is dated April 4th, not sure if that date is actually the date. Usually Le beau Serge is recognized to be the first new wave feature. It was first featured in Locarno Film Festival around late 1958 and then officially released Jan 1959, in both France and US. Or may be the writer above referred to Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, but then it was released in Nov 1959. Anyway, pinning down to one date won’t take away anything from how it shaped the world cinema.
Guess, I should get down to watch some movies of Chabrol, Rohmer or Varda, though less famous but still the great proponents.