French Cinema

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    French Cinema

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Film Studies, French Culture

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    18 200-level MFCO or FIME points

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Selected topics in French cinema since 1945.

    If we believe many of the directors of French new wave cinema (from roughly 1959-64) then we might be mistaken for thinking that they single-handedly pulled France out of its post-war depression and proved that it could, again, compete on the world stage as a modern nation. Such was the ?myth' of the French new wave. In this paper we focus tightly upon the five years in which Varda, Truffaut, Godard and Resnais burst upon the scene. We examine the claims they made: that jumpcuts and hand-held camerawork, Parisian streets and existential angst could innovate, rejuvenate and generally change Paris - France - the world! In so doing we consider how innovation and change happen on screen and the extra-ordinary capacity that cinema has for communicating within and across national boundaries.

    Course Structure
    The paper is divided between two topics:
    - First, through a focus on the context of post-war France, we investigate the 'myth of the new wave'
    - Second, we shift our focus from France to Europe and from contexts to texts to examine issues with wider relevance to European cinemas: stars, realism, modernism, gender and counter-cinema

    - Group Presentation 30%
    - Essay 50%
    - Exam 20%

    Learning Outcomes
    - Demonstrate sophisticated understanding of the significant contextual elements that brought about change in the new wave period
    - Be able to analyse the 'myth' of the French new wave as it has been created through film literature
    - Use close textual analysis to compare and contrast 'innovation' in selected film of the French new wave period
    - Discuss and apply in a wider context key concepts in European cinema, such as 'authorship', 'realism', 'modernism' and 'counter-cinema'

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