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French Cinema: History, Practice, Analysis


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Michael Temple (subject to change)
  • Assessment: a 2000-word essay (40%) and a 3000-word essay (60%)

Module description

This module will introduce you to the study of French cinema, from its origins to the present day. In order to understand the centrality of French cinema in the history of film, we will explore four approaches covering the four major areas of cinema studies: 'What makes cinema happen?', 'Who makes films?', 'What films are made?' and 'How is cinema perceived?'

The films we study will vary from year to year, but we always look at a wide range of French cinema, from different periods and in different genres. All film material will be subtitled for English speakers.

Teaching and learning involves a variety of methods including presentations, pair/group work, class discussions, screenings, independent study outside of class, and individual tutorials.

Indicative module content

  • Structures: the economic infrastructure, legal framework, and commercial culture ('business'); and the influence of scientific innovation and technological change ('technology') which create cinema
  • People: the human agency in the film-making process; artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs; the different métiers of cinema; working communities and professional institutions
  • Forms: the diversity of film production; indigenous and international idioms; dominant and marginal forms, popular and avant-garde tendencies; key films that exemplify major trends and turning-points
  • Reflections: the range of cinema audiences and the experience of film-going ('spectators'); varieties of film-criticism and the function of theory ('debates')