Infographic: Your Guide to the History of French Cinema

Une histoire du cinéma français? Chouette!

So, raise your hand if you're obsessed with the French New Wave? Not just me, eh? Great! For the uninitiated, the French New Wave, or Nouvelle Vague, was a French film movement that lasted from the late 50s to the late 60s, which produced such iconic filmmakers such as François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and Jean-Luc Godard (whose birthday I celebrate every year -- and whose visage will forever be marked on my body -- and whose work completely influences everything I do as a filmmaker).

However, there's so much more to French cinema than just the French New Wave. In fact, you could say that the light from the dawn of cinema first shined in Lyon and Paris where the Lumière Brothers furthered Léon Bouly's invention of one of the first movie cameras, the cinematograph. (Thomas Edison's kinetoscope was being developed by inventor William Kennedy Dickson around the same time.) If you're looking to learn a brief history of French cinema, then you're in luck -- especially if you're not much of a reader.

With this infographic by Raffles Hotels, you can walk the timeline of French film and learn about the events and filmmakers that invented and evolved the medium as a whole, from the birth of cinema with the Lumière Brothers in the late 1800s, to the iconic film movement of the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vague) that brought low budget filmmaking to the mainstream. There are also nods to contemporary French filmmakers, like director Michel Hazanavicius, who brought silent film back to the big screen with The Artist, and director Abdellatif Kechiche who brought all sorts of attention (good and bad) to the LGBTQ community in France and worldwide with Blue is the Warmest Color.

A History of Cinema in France
Credit: Raffles

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Your Comment


A great infographic indeed, but Jena Eustache's The Mother and the Whore is a very VERY unforgivable omission!

November 26, 2014 at 4:50PM



November 26, 2014 at 4:52PM


Cool one! Thanks for sharing, Renee. You should write about your burning passion for Godard someday, would be a hell of a lecture :)

November 26, 2014 at 7:57PM, Edited November 26, 7:57PM

Rebecca Pelagio
film student

cant believe they forgot Studio 28 (cinema)
a small art film cinema opened in 1928, with the fixtures and interior created by jean cocteau.

November 27, 2014 at 3:00AM


What, no Louis de Funes? No Pierre Richard? No Fernandel???

November 27, 2014 at 12:43PM

Dan Leo


November 29, 2014 at 10:10PM


Well, as a french person, I can tell its a little bit simplistic concerning the films examples, and the famous filming places like Effeil Tower or Notre-Dame are so clichés, you have plenty of others interesting ones.
By the way, why is this edited by a hotel services website ?

December 7, 2014 at 7:01AM

Jerome suider
Cinema Student At University [2012-2016]