There’s no denying the allure of French films. The gritty, romantic, gripping stories filled with ennui, with violence, with heartache. Many film buffs and layman alike have fallen for the charms of French cinema, but you may not realize just how big of an impact French cinema has had on the film world — and the art world more generally. This video from No Film School shows just how that happened. In the post-World War II world French films finally were available internationally and, crucially, international films were available in France.

As French cinephiles embraced the artistry of film and the idea of the “camera pen”, Jean Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut started making their mark. They, along with other cinephiles, developed the architecture for French New Wave cinema, which would go onto change Hollywood forever. Realism, a specific film language, and an emphasis on a conversation with the audience helped to define French New Wave cinema. To see why this was so extraordinary, check out the whole video below:

Taking on the Cannes Film Festival — and winning — is a brave, bold move, but it shows just how dedicated these filmmakers were to the authenticity of their craft. The left and right bank artists both changed the way we look at film, through experimentation and giving voice to those outside of the studio system. They set the scene for the American New Wave — and changed cinema forever.