Questions of French Cinema - FREN3080

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module will provide students with a basic knowledge of the most important periods of French cinema (including experimental cinema, the nouvelle vague, Beur cinema, the 1980s 'cinéma du look') and introduce key film concepts such as the ‘politique des auteurs’. Students will gain experience in critical reading and viewing, in close analysis of films, texts and issues, and in developing arguments in French. They will also be introduced to the skills of presentation and the sustaining of cogent argument. The module will examine a number of films from the 1920s to the present which illustrate the scope and development of French cinema. While most of the films are now regarded as canonical, a major aim of the module is to place the works in context so as to emphasise their radical and often transgressive power.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay Plan (500 words) – 20%
Essay (2,000 words) – 60%
Screencast/Presentation – 20%

Reassessment method:

Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Film List

Films (in French with English subtitles):
Entracte. (1924) Film. Directed by René Clair. [DVD] France: Société Nouvelle des Acacias.
La Règle du Jeu. (1939) Film. Directed by Jean Renoir. [DVD] France: Les Grands Films Français.
Orphée. (1950) Film. Directed by Jean Cocteau. [DVD] France: René Château.
La Traversée de Paris. (1956) Film. Directed by Claude Autant-Lara. [DVD] France: Gaumont.
Vivre sa vie. (1962) Film. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. [DVD] France: Panthéon.
La Jetée. (1962) Film. Directed by Chris Marker. [DVD] France: Argos Films.
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg. (1964) Film. Directed by Jacques Demy. [DVD] France: Arte Video.
37º2 le matin. (1986) Film. Directed by Jean-Jacques Beneix. [DVD] France: Gaumont.
La Haine. (1995) Film. Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. [DVD] France: Mars Distribution.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of a range of films depicting various periods in French cinema from the 1920s to the present day;
2. Demonstrate understanding of the cultural and historical backgrounds of the films studied and thereby be able to assess the links between this background and the films;
3. Demonstrate a more general knowledge of the history of cinema;
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between cinematographic form and content;
5. Demonstrate their knowledge of technical terms relating to cinema;
6. Evaluate and describe filmic narratives and the ways in which they are made;
7. Demonstrate their appreciation of the differences/similarities between the filmic and the literary.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Communicate effectively;
2. Write cogent, well-constructed essays supported by textual evidence;
3. Present information in a structured and coherent manner;
4. Reflect on their own learning, plan their use of time, and identify appropriate directions for further study;
5. Undertake independent research in the library collections and using appropriate academic databases online.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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