Twentieth Century France in Crisis - FREN3100

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module explores how four major 'crises' in twentieth-century France are reflected in cinema: World War I, World War II, the Algerian crisis, and the events of May 1968. Some films are made not long after the events depicted with events, whereas others were made decades later. The module will combine study of the historical periods depicted with analysis of the set films. Through its study of major international conflicts, the occupation of France, a war of decolonisation and a major student and worker revolt, the module will explore themes such as socio-political agendas, nationalist ideology, colonisation and decolonisation, and the politics of (collective and individual) memory.


Contact hours

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

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Screencast – 20%
Essay Plan – 20%
Essay (2,000 words) – 60%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

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 Show an appreciation of a range of films inspired by the four crises (World War I (1914-18), World War II (1939-45), the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) and the Student Protests of 1968;
2 Demonstrate familiarity with the cultural and historical background of the works studied, and thereby assess the links between events and the films;
3 Demonstrate an ability to analyse and describe films (in particular, characters and events);
4 Demonstrate their critical understanding of historical milestones in contemporary France and their cinematic representation;
5 Show an appreciation of cultural diversity in contemporary political debates in France.

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

1 Demonstrate written communication skills, including the emerging skill of original argument;
2 Write cogent, well-constructed essays supported by textual evidence;
3 Reflect on their own learning, plan their use of time, and identify appropriate directions for further study;
4 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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