French Cinema 1895-1950
French Cinema 1895-1950 2022-23
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
The French hold cinema in greater esteem than perhaps any other nation, both as an art form and as popular entertainment; since its inception, the septième Art has produced a wealth of talent and many films of world standing. In this course we will look - on the big screen - at prominent examples of French cinema from its first decades, from the earliest work of the Lumière brothers in the 1890s to the mid-20th Century. The course looks at the general development of French cinema in the period, concentrating on: (i) a major classic from the silent era; (ii) a film from the Poetic Realism movement of the 1930s; (iii) an artistic, non-realist film from the end of the period covered.
Main films studied Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien andalou Jean Vigo’s Vigo’s Zéro de conduite Jean Renoir’s Boudu sauvé des eaux Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion Marcel Carné’s Hôtel du Nord Marcel Carné’s Le Jour se lève
Main secondary texts Andrew, James Dudley. Mists of regret: culture and sensibility in classic French film (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). Armes, Roy. French Cinema (London: Secker and Warburg, 1985). Hayward, Susan. French National Cinema, (London and New York: Routledge, 2005). Hayward , Susan and Ginette Vincendeau (eds.). French Film: Texts and Contexts (London and New York: Routledge, 2002). Martin, John. The Golden Age of French Cinema, 1929-1939 (London: Columbus Books, 1983). Powrie, Phil and Keith Reader (eds.). French Cinema: A Student's Guide (London: Arnold, 2002). Williams, Alan. Republic of images: a history of French film making (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992).
-threshold -D- - D+: In order to merit the award of credit, students should demonstrate a basic comprehension of the position, content and technique of the films studied, succeeding in giving a rudimentary analysis of their stylistic approach.
-good -C- - B+: Students attaining the higher grades in this course will not only have understood the artistic aims and affiliations of these film makers, but will begin to explore the concepts that link them, re-evaluating traditional critical judgements of their works, forming their own conclusions as they pay close attention to the material.
-excellent -A- - A*: Students attaining the highest grades in this course will have produced innovative readings of both the films and the artistic contexts studied. They will have supplemented set works with intelligently chosen additional primary or secondary material and demonstrated a high level of engagement with both the ideas and style of the films studied.
- Students will be able to articulate the general trends of the particular strand of French Cinema concerned.
- Students will be able to evaluate the wider contexts of the material studied.
- Students will have engaged with the works of at least three major French film makers and feel able to offer close readings of the films studied.
- Students will have gained skills useful for more advanced Film modules that may be taken in their final year.
1500-word essay on one of the first three films studied on the module.
5-minute presentation on one of the six films studied. You must not focus on the same film as in either of your essays
1500-word essay on one of the last three films studied on this module. You must not focus on the same film as the one that was the subject of your assessed presentation.