Would anyone else here consider this new film movement called the American New Wave including filmmakers Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Sofia Coppola, David O. Russell, Richard Linklater, or Charlie Kaufman a legitimate film movement. Personally, I say yes. A man named Derek Hill even wrote a book on it called Charlie Kaufman and Hollywood’s Merry Band of Pranksters, Fabulists and Dreamers. The book could outrageously pretentious or turn on all the thoughts you had in the back in mind into understandable words. So i guess this post really includes two questions regarding the movement and the book.
i haven’t read the book. as far as the conception of a new american wave, i believe it and i dont. i believe it because basically, every new generation is a new wave. i dont believe it as a theoretical concept, or as a movement, because a movement has some sort of programmatic commonalities associated with it.
I haven’t read the book either, but generally speaking I don’t buy the idea of “movements” in filmmaking. There are always commonalities between works, but I think that generally these type of schema are mostly scaffolding to prop up someone’s championing of a few filmmakers they happen to be fond of.
yes, i agree that movements are often constructs of critics. but i believe there are a few movements that truly existed, in the real sense of the term.
i consider the french new wave to be a true film movement (not coincidentally, one that began as critical work). dogma is a true movement, regardless of value judgments. i think italian neorealism can be considered a true movement, because of zavattinis programmatic statements, and other directors adherence to them (and work with him).
The French New Wave was a genuine movement in that all these filmmakers knew each other and most were Cahiers du Cinema critics.
Charlie Kaufman, David O. Russell et.al. arrived at the same moment, but they’re rather different in many ways. And they have no overriding theoretical concept behind their work.
I believe there commonalities between the films of these directors. How influential they will be in the history of cinema only time can tell.
be careful. movement doesn’t equate to the worth of films in historical terms. and movement doesnt equate only to commonalities in film form, thought that’s one piece of the puzzle. the larger and most important piece though is theoretical commonalities, point-of-view commonalities. and if there’s a tangible programmatic statement that a group of people are adhering to, that’s the ultimate criterion for a movement.
I’ve got a question: Is the current plethora of environmentally based documentaries being released these past few years a movement? Is the use (or overuse, depending on your preference) of shaky, voyeuristic cameras and long takes a movement?
Think about. In the first, the movies share a similar concept, but are hardly made in the same style at all. Is Planet Earth the same as An Inconvenient Truth?
In the last, the documentary approach to filming fiction connects the movies, but are Children of Men and Che part of the same movement?
I’d say no. It’s simple. The first is a reaction to a cultural concern, but just because it’s being filmed doesn’t make it a movement, and as for the second example, that’s a definite no. That style has been around forever and, other than that, the movies have nothing in common.
Same could go for the American New Wave. Two of the members might have something in common, but no group of them share any idea or style so much so that they can be said to be working in the same movement.
Also, why does every movement have to be the Blank “New Wave”. As of late, nothing new has come out of them.
There already was an American New Wave. It was New Hollywood.
A trend, a generation, a movement—all are different things…
To Shade Slayer: The book I mentioned actually has a great section on how New Hollywood influenced the so-called American New Wave.
One more thing, I have to agree with Daniel Kasman on this one.
I say ixnay on the David O. Russell and throw some Paul Thomas Anderson in there.
Not so much a New Wave, but more like Directors who’s work I like.
Paul Thomas Anderson would fit well in that group I agree
Yes, part of what makes the French New Wave more of a cohesive movement was that not only were they filmmakers in the same place at the same time, but there was an ongoing, overarching critical dialogue between the directors in the wake of Bazan and the Cinémathèque. There’s no real equivalent in this country. In fact very few American directors—Bogdanovich and Schrader are the only two that come to mind—come from a critical background. The closest thing is maybe the first generation of film school grads rolling into Hollywood. To me this sounds like Hill is trying to make the same kind of generalizations Sharon Waxman did a few years ago in her book trying to fit together Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, David O. Russell and Spike Jonze.
critics worry too much about classifying when they should instead be worried about clarifying.
I think there’s too much focus on classifying entertainment into groups, like the “Frat-Pack”. They keep adding members to that “group” but although the people in that “group” collaborate often, I don’t believe it is because they consider themselves a group.
I do believe that movements are real, in the sense of a group of entertainers who work in the same field learning and being inspired and working with each other. Like the Beach Boys and the Beatles bouncing ideas back and forth across an ocean. And some of the people mentioned definitely work together and learn and grow as artists off of each other’s works. I don’t know if anyone is truly qualified to classify if they are a movement until it is in retrospect. I think the circular nature of history is apparent to people today and they’re too used to identifiable circumstances. As globalization becomes more and more solid a truth I think everything will change and movements will be replaced by huge shifts, maybe movement is the proper word for this and we need a new word for the past “movements”.
So I believe this is the beginning of a new way of thinking that no one has come to terms with and groups like this will only continue to grow. I also think I’m ranting and need sleep because it’s 5 AM…
I think the current state of Hollywood is a movement, but I wouldn’t go to the extreme of calling it the American New Wave. I’d have to agree with Shade_Slayer’s comment that the New Hollywood produced the American New Wave. If you want to define it, it would go back to 1968 starting with Bonnie and Clyde and then Easy Rider. Its not a matter of critics or popularity, its more of the fact that it released independent cinema to North America. There is the underlying aspect of releasing a gratuitous amount of violence and a film about recreational drug use, these were taboo in American cinema at the time, these films broke that wall down. After their release many out-of-studio films were being released and becoming mainstream. Comparatively to other countries, its the films that take it out of the studio and into the people that create New Wave, not necessarily style.
The revision of the Hollywood Production Code (in existence for the prior 36 years) in 1966 and the subsequent creation G-M-R-X rating system with the "suggested for mature audiences) designation (all of which was driven from inside Hollywood by the MPAA) had as much to do with the changes you’re talking about regarding depictions of violence and drugs (sex, too, by the way). If there’s a common ethos in the two films you mentioned, I’m not sure that the two filmmakers, Arthur Penn and Dennis Hopper—or their later films—have much in common beyond that.
no, the current state of hollywood is not a movement. the current state of hollywood is the current state of hollywood.
if such a thing exists as an american new wave, defining it as starting in 1968 negates the possibility of it being a “new” wave. we’re in a new century.
I don’t see any stylistic manifesto binding that list of directors.
If Hollywood taught us anything with the New Hollywood it’s that mavericks get reeled in pretty quickly so unless you want to struggle like Robert Altman don’t stray too far.
It hardly matters. Take the viewership of the best of the French New Wave films and it doesn’t measure up to Watchman and The Dark Knight combined.
what does viewership have to do with defining a movement or not? we were talking artistic movement, not audience movement.
viewership doesn’t even determine how great a movie is. the dark knight broke the opening weekend record, but before that it was pirates of the carribean 3, and everybody knows that was terrible.
I’m actually a young film making from the UK. I’m thinking of doing my final dissertation for university on this “new” American new wave (such as Spike Jonze, Michele Gondry and Charlie Kaufman) and how it is actually a modern movement. I was actually wondering if anyone could help me. Now I know I want to right about this subject as it interests me a lot, I’ve been reading up on it and it also influences my own films and scripts. But I’m having trouble thinking of a question exactly. I was think of maybe comparing them to the traditional ideal of story telling or even comparing them to the origian American or French new wave of the 1950’s onwards, or discussing how Charlie Kaufman using surrealist structures in his film to enhance the reality and truths of his characters but I just can’t decide, any ideas at all? (Also any books or online articles you’ve come across would be a great help)
What David said:
“The French New Wave was a genuine movement in that all these filmmakers knew each other and most were Cahiers du Cinema critics.
Charlie Kaufman, David O. Russell et.al. arrived at the same moment, but they’re rather different in many ways. And they have no overriding theoretical concept behind their work.”
These guys aren’t the German Expressionists or the Nouvelle Vague or any coherent movement striving to achieve specific philosophical ends. Charlie Kaufman’s surreal explorations have more in common with Terry Gilliam than with Wes Anderson, f’or instance.
I think we already have a name for this: The American independent film movement, which started in the early 1990s with Linklater, Anderson, Whit Stillman, Allison Anders, Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, and many others. Creating a new term such as “American New Wave” and ripping off other terms like “Merry Pranksters,” originally offered up by the late great Ken Kesey is just a way for writers to capitalize and sell books.
its hard to group everybody into one all-encompassing category because they resist categorization. american indie movement is good, but that still only describes a portion of the people we’re talking about. basically, there are so many new directors in america that each decade a new group of them comes of age. the ones that came of age in the 70s are different from those of the 80s, and those of the 90s, and those of the 00s too.
so lumping everyone together monolithically just wont cut it. cant take any critical shortcuts.