It was in the late 1950s and early 1960s that a group of French filmmakers took a revolutionary step to redefine conventions and standards of classical Hollywood cinema. The group consisted of many renowned film directors who were once film critics for the magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, and later became the prominent pioneers of “La Nouvelle Vague” or the French New Wave Cinema. The members of this core group included a number of famous and revolutionary filmmakers François Truffaut, Jean Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer. In a progressive attempt to attack the classic literary style of French cinema, the New Wave filmmakers started developing a new notion of ‘authorship’ which accustomed the director of the film to leave his personal signature visible from film to film. The New Wave was not a formally organized movement, but it did bring some significant changes in filmmaking techniques that were bold and direct enough while inspiring the new Hollywood cinema. As Wikipedia describes,
Apart from the candid cinematic approach and directorial authorship style, the New Wave filmmaking technique involved budget issues and production value. Post-World War II, French cinema was engrossed in socio-economic problems and looking forward to low-budget filmmaking techniques while using the same production methods. In this attempt, the New wave directors adopted stylistic innovations expressing their artistic visions directly to the theatre and at the same time cutting down on the production cost.
One of the pioneering filmmakers advocating this method was Jean Luc Godard (1930-), who is also one of the founding members of the French New Wave Cinema. Born in Paris in 1930 to a bourgeois family and grew up in Switzerland, Godard studied ethnology in Paris. He came to prominence as a film critic while writing in the influential magazine Cahiers du Cinéma where he attacked traditional filmmakers and welcomed cinematic works of innovative filmmakers. Having gathered efficient and in-depth knowledge on filmmaking, Godard decided to try his hands on filmmaking itself. His feature debut À Bout de soufflé (Breathless) released in 1959 that won him widespread acclaim as a new age film director with a radical and innovative approach to filmmaking.