Sarah Leahy
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Isabelle Vanderschelden
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The screenwriter sacrificed?
The ‘screenplays’ of the New Wave auteurs
in Screenwriters in French cinema
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The French New Wave and its critical legacy have had a fundamental impact on the way screenwriting practices have developed since the 1960s. Because of the influence of the auteurist position that privileges the director’s role, they have also affected the way screenwriting and the screenwriter have been conceptualised in film studies. Using examples from three key writer-directors – Truffaut, Varda and Rohmer – this chapter engages with film authorship and the auteur from a screenwriting perspective to challenge enduring myths regarding the New Wave and screenwriters. It looks at how the privileging of mise en scene by the politique des auteurs led not to the disappearance of screenwriters and screenplays but to different, more flexible approaches to writing, which changed established models of film development. The chapter explores a number of innovative writing methods developed by Truffaut, Varda and Rohmer for the screen and considers how these affect the traditionally collaborative nature of film development and the writing process.

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