‘Dead Champagne’: Variety’s ‘New Wave’The article is about how Variety magazine influenced the new movement in writing and film, called New Wave in late 1950s and early 1960s. New Wave have always been hard to define, therefore, there are several interpretation by medias. A French press L’Express refers to “the novel lifestyles of 1950s French youth.” Also, New Wave means new French films by 1960. Especially Variety, the American trade paper “played a key role in shaping the initial reception of the New Wave for the global industry”. New Wave films are defined as a “low-budget homage to and reaction against classical Hollywood cinema”. From 1958 through 1964, Variety explains the New Wave as an international and sub-cultural film genre. The term New Wave is first used in 1958 by Claire Clouzot and Jacques Siclier. Variety magazine mentioned the term in 1959 for the first time in an article named “New Wave.” Variety magazine have always used the term to denote the “collection of people rather than films or traits”. In 1960, The meaning of the term was more narrowed down; in an article, New Wave “of filmmaking has been assimilated into the general industry here, the release of one of the last “Wave” pix is making good box office ”. The magazine, then, criticized the movement by saying it would not last long, as ‘Wave’ is in ‘shallow water’, and also New Wave was considered ‘amateurish, uneditable’, ‘too personal’, and not easily distributed. “In May 1960, the story New Wave: Dead Champagne, claims the New Wave was overrated since it produced only a wave of mediocrity”, and in 1962, they do not even mention about the New Wave any more. Variety is significant to the New Wave movement since “Variety’s industrial perspective provides a pointed narrative but also outlines generating mechanisms behind the New Wave and its reception”, and it “features the box office details for the New Wave’s reception”. Throughout the time, Variety became a useful source to understand and define New Wave by historians.
The author introduces the French film “Belle de Jour” made by Luis Bunuel in 1967. The actress Catherine Deneuve was playing a young housewife, and Yves Saint Laurent showed a plenty of costumes for her in the film. The author says “Belle de Jour gave a double life to luxury clothes so powerful that designers have been fantasizing it ever since. In the movie, Catherine gets a job as a prostitute, and she in Yves Saint Laurent's clothes were “proof that class could be bought.” The author makes her points mentioning that “Belle de Jour may have addressed a certain male fantasy that all women would like to work part time as call girls, but it also addressed designers' fantasies that even the dullest garments they produce might be considered racy”, and she says that Yves Saint Laurent has been inspiring fashion designers, and how he has been called as a “master colorist.”
The author introduces the Italian master of film, Michelangelo Antonioni. The author talks about how the Antonioni has achived romantic, poetic films “charged with emotional and symbolic resonance”. The movie, “L’Avventura” was a “breakthrough film” since it depicts the intellectual and emotional mood well throughout the movie. It’s the movie about “diminishing attention span of a modern world”. Then, the author talks about Antonioni’s two other movies “La Notte” and “La Dolce Vita.” The author believes that Antonioni’s three movies are affected by Italy’s ecomomic boom, and “L’Avventura” is special because it was neo-realism’s stylistic opposite.