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Cinematic New Waves

abateman | Thursday November 04, 2010

Categories: A Level, Eduqas (WJEC) A Level, WJEC A2, WJEC A2 Film Studies, WJEC AS, WJEC AS Film Studies , Film, New Wave, Other Topics

The films which tend to be classed as new wave fall out of most film audience’s natural comfort zone and may not be their films of choice for watching. This helps to define the term cinematic new wave and to place a new wave movement into a context relative to other films.

A new wave film is by definition different to the other films which are normally produced, or to put it another way, new wave film movements are distinct from those films which might be considered as mainstream. Like all things new, they also tend to have a fairly short life span before a newer movement comes along.

The Mainstream

In order to identify exactly what a new wave film or movement is, it makes sense to look at what we mean by the term mainstream. A useful identification of the features of mainstream film is offered by Warren Buckland (2003) in his book Teach Yourself Film Studies. Buckland identifies mainstream cinema as having the following general features (p.75):

  • High production values. This means that the film makers are concerned with the quality and ‘gloss’ of the finished products. The films will usually have a high budget and the money is there on the screen in the special effects technology, sound and editing.
  • Use of established stars. The cost of established star actors could prove prohibitive with many of them charging and receiving up to $25 million for their participation in a film. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that the presence of a star in a film will give it a much better chance of making money since many people will see the film simply because of the main star. Although budgetary considerations need to be taken into account, most directors would like to bet the most famous actor and the biggest star they can to be in the film.
  • Observance of the conventions of a genre. Most mainstream films can be pigeonholed into a genre or perhaps they demonstrate some of the generic features of more than one genre but these are usually...

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