La Nouvelle Vague – Iconic photos capture French cinema’s New Wave

Breathless - Jean Paul Belmondo & Jean Seberg stroll down the Champs Elysées in Jean-Luc Godard’s classic film. Copyright Raymond Cauchetier, courtesy James Hyman Gallery.

Fifty years ago, a bunch of radical French filmmakers set about overthrowing cinema’s old guard.

Fed up with the self-importance of what they sneeringly dismissed as ‘Le cinéma du papa’ (Dad’s cinema), young Turks Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette launched their own subversive, achingly cool film movement – La Nouvelle Vague.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Godard’s À bout de souffle (Breathless), the film that kicked off French cinema’s New Wave, London’s James Hyman Gallery is currently showing an exhibition of iconic photographs by legendary photographer Raymond Cauchetier.

Ninety this year, Cauchetier was hired as the on-set photographer for À bout de souffle and captured such famous moments as Jean Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg (in her New York Herald Tribune t-shirt) walking down the Champs Elysées, as well as intimate behind-the-scenes glimpses of Godard and his crew at work.

Jules et Jim - Jeanne Moreau, Henri Serre and Oskar Werner in high spirits in François Truffaut’s classic film. Copyright Raymond Cauchetier, courtesy James Hyman Gallery.

You’ll see these images in the exhibition, alongside photos from such classic New Wave films as Godard’s Une Femme est Une Femme (1960), Jacques Demy’s Lola (1960), starring Anouk Aimée, and François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim (1962) starring Jean Moreau, Oskar Werner and Henri Serre.

Re-live the era’s cool chic and dynamic energy at the gallery. And you can even take some of it home with you – the prints, signed and numbered, are for sale.

La Nouvelle Vague runs at the James Hyman Gallery, 5 Saville Row, W1 until 28th August.

Jean-Luc Godard’s À bout de soufflé (Breathless) comes out on Blu-ray & DVD in a new digitally restored edition from Optimum Releasing on 13th September.

Jacques Demy’s classic debut film Lola gets a first-ever DVD release on 6th September, courtesy of Mr Bongo Films.

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