All the French New Wave Directors Are Dead — Long Live Their Legacy

Kohn’s Corner is a weekly column about the challenges and opportunities of sustaining American film culture.Chances are that if you care about international cinema, you care about the French New Wave.

A loose collective of young directors who came to define their country’s cinema as the 1950s gave way to the ’60s, the French New Wave gave cinema permission to be audacious and uncompromising while bolstering its style and personality.

It was cool with purpose.Jacques Rozier, the last living member of the Nouvelle Vague, died this week at 96.

Rozier was a blind spot for me, but the French New Wave was my guide to grasping what the movies could be.As a teenager, Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless” got me excited about the possibilities of the movies like nothing that came before.

Francois Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows” was a formative encounter with the expansive possibilities of the coming-of-age story.

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