1 x 2-hour lecture weekly
Assumed knowledge
Intermediate French language. No previous knowledge of screen studies is required.
Topic description
France has long been at the vanguard of cinema. This topic explores French cinema from a cultural point of view. It is based on a selection of iconic films illustrative the key periods of French cinema, from the earliest films to the classic era and contemporary cinema: The silent period, the classic era, the war years, the post war period, the new wave and contemporary cinema. Movies selected will cover a range of historical, social, and cultural issues, which have defined modern French identities. Each film will be studied against the socio-cultural background of its period.

All films will be available in French with English subtitles, and lectures will be in English. Please note that the emphasis of the topic will be on the analysis of cultural elements through film, not on technical and theoretical analysis of cinematography.
Educational aims
This topic aims to provide students with the opportunity to:

  • Provide an overview of French cinema and of the periods that compose it
  • Introduce key French films that have marked their times
  • Present a range of significant socio-cultural issues through film
  • Provide analytical tools to write and talk about films
  • Highlight the development of the French cinema industry
Expected learning outcomes
On completing this topic, students will be able to:

  • Analyse French cinema, from a range of eras, and be able to draw comparisons and distinctions between epochs and films
  • Situate major French films, artists and directors
  • Identify and discuss key socio-cultural issues that have shaped French identities in the last 100 years
  • Perform a thematic film analysis
  • Articulate the specificity of the French cinema industry