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Module LXF-3106:
French Cinema since 1960

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Jonathan Ervine

Overall aims and purpose

  1. This module will introduce students to important trends in French cinema from the late 1950s the present day.
  2. By focusing on seven specific films, the module will explore the transformations French cinema has undergone from the New Wave of the 1950s/1960s to the new millennium.
  3. The module will explore how questions of cinematic aesthetics and genres relate to issues of social change and the socio-political context in which films are produced.

Course content

In chronological terms, this course follows on from module LXF2104 French Cinema 1895-1950. However, students who have not taken LXF2104 or have not previously studied cinema are more than welcome to take this module. This course will focus on French cinema from the New Wave period of the 1950s and 1960s to the new millennium. Through analysis of films by different directors from different decades, key cinematic trends will be identified, analysed and contextualized. Key trends / periods to be studied include 1950s/60s New Wave cinema, the "cinéma du look" of the 1980s, and the renewal of social and political cinema in France since 1995. This will expose students to key concepts in film studies and encourage critical reflection on how the range of techniques utilised by a director contribute to cinematic meaning. The films studied will be situated both in relation to cinematic and political trends contemporary to their production.

Key texts Austin, Guy. 1996. Contemporary French Cinema: An Introduction . (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press). Ezra, Elizabeth. 2004. European Cinema (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press). Hayward, Susan. 2005 (or 1993). French National Cinema, (London and New York: Routledge). This book is available on the library website as an e-book: click here. Hayward , Susan and Ginette Vincendeau (eds.). 2002. French Film: Texts and Contexts (London and New York: Routledge). Hjort, Mette and Scott Mackenzie. 2000. Cinema and Nation (London and New York: Routledge). See chs. 4-7, esp. Ch.6 on 'Framing National Cinemas' by Susan Hayward. This book is available via the library website as an e-book: click here. Kline, T. Jefferson. 2010. Unravelling French Cinema (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell). Available as an e-book via the Bangor University website: Powrie, Phil (ed.). 1999. French cinema in the 1990s : continuity and difference (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Powrie, Phil and Keith Reader (eds.). 2002. French Cinema: A Student's Guide (London: Arnold). See esp. pp. 3-53. This book is available on the library website as an e-book: click here.

Any other learning resources
The core films studied are Jean-Luc Godard's A Bout de souffle (1960), Jean-Luc Godard's Week-end (1967), Claude Chabrol's Le Boucher (1970), Luc Besson's Subway, Jacques Martineau and Olivier Ducastel's Drôle de Félix (1999) and Nicolas Philibert's Etre et avoir (2002) and Michel Haznavicius' The Artist (2011).

Assessment Criteria


D- - D+: In order to merit the award of credit, students should demonstrate a basic understanding of the cinematic and thematic issues related to the films studied, and be able to provide analysis of the films' significance. They should also demonstrate an awareness of critical thinking on the films and the period studied.


C- - B+: Students attaining the higher grades in this course will have engaged with an appropriate range of cinematic and thematic issues related to the films studied, and will demonstrate and ability to assess the films in relation to established critical debates about French cinema. They will contextualize the films in relation to appropriate cinematic and trends and socio-political issues.


A- - A*: Students attaining the highest grades in this course will have produced innovative responses to the films studied that situates the core films in relation to other relevant films and also cinematic and socio-political issues. They will have supplemented this analysis with the confident and thoughtful engagement with a range of secondary materials. They will have demonstrated a very high level of understanding of the individual films in terms of both their content, cinematic techniques and contextualized them in relation to cinematic trends and socio-political issues.

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand the importance of cinema and cinematic culture in France, notably in relation to the images of France which it projects.

  2. Demonstrate knowledge of key trends in French cinema from the late 1950s to the present day.

  3. Critically assess a film or extracts of a film, demonstrating awareness of how cinematic techniques contribute to meaning.

  4. Contextualize films in relation to cinematic trends and socio-political developments

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM exam

Answers two questions, each of which must be about a different film. You must not answer a question about the film you focused on for your assessed essay.

ESSAY essay

Essay on one of the first three films taught on the module.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Seminar 11
Private study 178

Two one hour classes per week for 11 weeks. Will involve mixture of lecture-type teaching and seminar-type activities such as discussion of extracts from films and student presentations.

Lecture 11

Transferable skills

  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Engaging with, interpreting and critically evaluating short and longer contemporary texts (short stories, films, novels) in the target language (Benchmark statement 5. 8, and 5.9)
  • The ability to comprehend aspects of French history, culture and language. (Benchmark statement 5.7)

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: