Forgotten Filmmakers of the French New Wave at MoMA

L'Amour à la Mer by Guy Gilles. Courtesy Lobster Films

L'Amour à la Mer by Guy Gilles. Courtesy Lobster Films

MoMA Floor T2/T1
11 West 53 Street
New York City, US 10019
May 4–June 2, 2022
The French New Wave of the 1950s and ’60s radically transformed the language of cinema. While its leading figures are widely recognized—over the years, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, Agnès Varda, Alain Resnais, Jacques Demy, and Chris Marker have all had retrospectives at MoMA and beyond—there were many other New Wave filmmakers whose work has remained largely unsung.

This major retrospective of more than 40 features and shorts allows the discovery of the most important among them, drawing upon the dictionary of 162 new filmmakers that appeared in the December 1962 issue of Cahiers du cinéma. Included among these is Alain Cavalier’s rarely screened L’insoumis, starring Alain Delon, as well as other films relating to the Algerian War, including James Blue’s The Olive Trees of Justice (1961) and Jacques Panijel’s banned film October in Paris (1962). The specter of French colonialism is manifested as well in Jacques Melo Kane, Mamadou Sarr, and Paulin Soumanou Viera’s groundbreaking Afrique sur Seine (1955) and in the ethnographic films of Jean Rouch, including Moi, un Noir (1958). And while the French New Wave was doubtless dominated by men—this exhibition does not neglect names like Alexandre Astruc, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Georges Franju, Jacques Rozier, and Edouard Molinaro—there were, nonetheless, a select few women, including Paula Delsol, who made deeply personal work in the shadow of the pioneering and towering figure of Agnès Varda.

Organized by Jean-Michel Frodon, independent curator, and Joshua Siegel, Curator, with Olivia Priedite, Senior Programming Assistant, Department of Film.

The Film Series will be screened in parallel at Harvard Film Archive from May 6 to June 19.

Many of the films will be introduced in-person by Jean-Michel Frodon.

With the support of Villa Albertine.

Access the full program and read an introductory essay by series co-organizer Jean-Michel Frodon here.

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black and by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.

In partnership with


Chanel is a key supporter of Étant donnés Contemporary Art, a professional program of Villa Albertine.