French Cinema Since the New Wave

Please note: this is archived course information from 2016 for FRENCH 349.


An in-depth investigation of major developments in French cinema since 1970, with a particular focus on the 1990s and beyond. The course is organized around a series of films and topics, each of which focuses on a specific aspect of contemporary French cinema, as it relates to French culture, politics, history and society as well as to major trends in world cinema.

In 2016, each lecture will introduce and discuss important cultural, philosophical, aesthetic and theoretical issues, such as surrealism and the carnevalesque; realism versus self-reflexivity; intertextuality; the ethics of representing otherness; modernism and postmodernism; feminism(s) and hegemonic masculinity; nativist versus constructivist theories of gender and sexuality; post-colonial theory; and the representation of history.

The course is open to students of both French and Media, Film and Television and all lectures will be given in English (and will be recorded). French major students will attend a separate discussion class in French and will be required to give presentations, write essays and sit the final test in French. Extra resources (reading list and recorded audio lecture in French with accompanying notes, lexiques and web references for film terms in French and English) and writing assistance will be available for French majors.

FRENCH 349 presupposes a good basic knowledge of film “grammar” (shot analysis, mise en scène, editing techniques etc.) and will provide all students with ample opportunity to develop existing knowledge. While Media, Film and Television majors are expected to display greater sophistication in terms of film analysis than French majors, a higher level of competency will be expected from the latter group in terms of cultural knowledge.

Availability 2016

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Deborah Walker-Morrison


Provisional Film List 2016:

B Blier, Les valseuses / Going Places (1974)*
A Resnais, Mon oncle d’Amérique / My American Uncle (1980)
JJ Beneix, Diva (1980)
M Kassovitz, La Haine / Hate (1995)
C Breillat, Romance  (1999) *
JP Jeunet Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001) *
A  Kechiche, L’Esquive / Games of Love and Chance (2004)
R Bouchareb, Indigènes / Days of Glory (2006)
C Breillat, Une vieille maitresse / The Last Mistress (2007)*
P Ferran, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2006)*; C Corsini, Partir / Leaving (2009)*

NB: Films marked with an asterisk* contain explicit sexual content. You will find useful information on all films at the International Movie Database, see French students see

Recommended Reading

Guy Austin. Contemporary French Cinema. Manchester U.P., 2008 (2nd edition).
Susan Hayward. French National Cinema. Routledge, London and New York, 1993.
Susan Hayward. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts.  Routledge, London and New York, 2006. 3rd ed. (Available as e-resource).
Phil Powrie. French Cinema in the 1980s. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1997.
Phil Powrie, ed. French Cinema in the 1990s. Oxford U.P., 1999.
Phil Powrie and Keith Reader. French Cinema: a student’s guide. Arnold, London, 2002.
Phil Powrie, ed. The Cinema of France. Wallflower Press, London, 2006.
Alan Williams. Republic of images: a history of French filmmaking. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1992. (useful for those not familiar with French film up to the New Wave).
Tim Palmer, Brutal Intimacy: Analyzing contemporary French Cinema. Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, Conn., 2011. (Available as e-resource)


Class assignments (20%)
Class participation / peer review (10%)
Optional group oral presentation (20%)
Research essay (30%)
Term test (20%)


FRENCH 349: 15 points


FRENCH 200 or 202 or 304, or 30 points from FTVMS 200-214, 216-219