The Film Music and Composers of Postwar French Art Cinema
Listening to the French New Wave offers the first detailed study of the music and composers of French New Wave cinema, arguing for the need to re-hear and thus reassess this important period in film history. Combining an ethnographic approach with textual and score-based analysis, the author challenges the idea of the New Wave as revolutionary in all its facets by revealing traditional approaches to music in many canonical New Wave films. However, musical innovation does have its place in the New Wave, particularly in the films of the marginalised Left Bank group. The author ultimately brings to light those few collaborations that engaged with the ideology of adopting contemporary music practices for a contemporary medium.
Drawing on archival material and interviews with New Wave composers, this book re-tells the story of the French New Wave from the perspective of its music.
Note on Translations
All translations are mine unless otherwise stated. I have included the original French of unpublished interviews in footnotes, where appropriate.
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Figure 1: Top: Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le fou (1965) © Studiocanal Image.Bottom: Composer Antoine Duhamel (1925–) © Jerôme Witz.
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Figure 2: Musical Theme ‘Ferdinand’ from Duhamel’s score for Godard’s Pierrot le fou. Reproduced with the kind permission of Duhamel © 1965 Sido Music.
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