The University of Wisconsin Press

Film / European Studies / Cultural Studies



A History of the French New Wave Cinema
Second Edition
Richard Neupert
With a new chapter on the Left Bank Group

Wisconsin Studies in Film

Kristin Thompson, David Bordwell, and Vance Kepley, Series Editors

An essential, updated history of the French New Wave.

The French New Wave cinema is arguably the most fascinating of all film movements, famous for its exuberance, daring, and avant-garde techniques. A History of the French New Wave Cinema offers a fresh look at the social, economic, and aesthetic mechanisms that shaped French film in the 1950s, as well as detailed studies of the most important New Wave movies of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Richard Neupert first tracks the precursors to New Wave cinema, showing how they provided blueprints for those who would follow. He demonstrates that it was a core group of critics-turned-directors from the magazine Cahiers du Cinéma—especially François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and Jean-Luc Godard—who really revealed that filmmaking was changing forever. Later, their cohorts Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, and Pierre Kast continued in their own unique ways to expand the range and depth of the New Wave.

In an exciting new chapter, Neupert explores the subgroup of French film practice known as the Left Bank Group, which included directors such as Alain Resnais and Agnès Varda. With the addition of this new material and an updated conclusion, Neupert presents a comprehensive review of the stunning variety of movies to come out of this important era in filmmaking.

Richard Neupert is Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Film Studies at the University of Georgia. He is the author of The End: Closure and Narration in the Cinema and his translations include Aesthetics of Film and French New Wave: An Artistic School.

Praise (from the first edition):

“Neupert offers brilliant analyses, whether of familiar or neglected films, . . . [giving] a masterful sense of the movement, its sources, character, and its continuing influence. Essential.”

“Refreshingly jargon-free and full of interesting details and anecdotes, this book is a pleasure to read.”
Library Journal

“This is the work for which all instructors of college courses on French film have been waiting a long time.”
—Kelley Conway, University of Wisconsin–Madison

A press kit from the first edition of A History of the French New Wave Cinema is still available.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

The cover of Neupert's book is illustrated with a green and black duotone photo of a man and a woman kissing. It is from one of the New Wave classic films. A small block in green identifies it as the Second Edition.

February 2007

LC: 2002002305 PN
424 pp.    6 x 9
108 b/w film stills

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Paper $26.95 a
ISBN 978-0-299-21704-4
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