[Photo © 1960 William Klein]
An excerpt from a 2000 profile of Jean-Luc Godard by Richard Brody in The New Yorker:
During our interview, Godard referred
to the New Wave not only as “liberating” but also as
“conservative.” On the one hand, he and his friends saw
themselves as a resistance movement against “the occupation of the
cinema by people who had no business there.” On the other, this
movement had been born in a museum, the Cinémathèque: Godard and his
peers were steeping themselves in a cinematic tradition — that of
silent films — that had disappeared almost everywhere else.
Thus, from the beginning, Godard saw the cinema as a lost paradise that
had to be reclaimed.
If love of the cinema of the past doesn't point the way to new, revolutionary
work — as love of ancient Greek art sparked the innovations of the
Renaissance — then it's just an exercise in nostalgia.
In other words, the cinema of the past can be alive as a cultural force, as it
was for the young French cinéastes of the Fifties, just as ancient Greek
art was alive for the artists of the Renaissance.
The parade has not gone by — it may even be passing this way: