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Intimate, Behind the Scenes Photos of French New Wave Classics

The art of French photographer Raymond Cauchetier has been described as “central” to the New Wave cinema movement — images as important as the films the set photographer documented from the late 1950s onward. The self-taught artist had his first big break with then filmmaking hopeful Jean-Luc Godard. Cauchetier found himself on the set of the director’s first movie, Breathless — no doubt a wondrous foray into a career that would find him working alongside other seminal greats such as François Truffaut, Agnès Varda, and Jean-Pierre Melville. Some have assumed that Cauchetier’s images are screenshots of the famous films. Instead, the former French Air Force photojournalist captured intimate, candid, behind the scenes moments where stars and directors formed special relationships (Godard and Anna Karina, for one) and the excitingly unconventional and innovative production process of one of cinema’s greatest movements was born.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ current exhibit — Photos de Cinéma: Images of the French New Wave — is showing 125 newly made, black and white prints from Cauchetier’s original 35mm negatives. The entire process overseen by the photographer himself, in Paris. This is the first exhibition outside of Europe to showcase Cauchetier’s filmic work. The Academy was generous enough to share several images from their fantastic show with us, and we’ve featured them for you past the break. Please visit The Academy website for more information. Photos de Cinéma: Images of the French New Wave will be on display through June 24 at the The Academy Grand Lobby Gallery in California.


Photo credit: Raymond Cauchetier, Courtesy of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless

Photo taken off set. A kiss between Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg in front of a kiosk on the Champs-Élysées.