Faculty of Arts


French Cinema Since the New Wave


An in-depth investigation of major developments in French cinema since 1970, with a particular focus on the 1990s and beyond. The course is organised 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.

Each lecture will introduce and discuss important cultural, philosophical, aesthetic and theoretical issues, such as surrealism and the carnivalesque; 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; postcolonial theory; and the representation of history.

FRENCH 749 is open to graduate students of French, Media, Film and Television and European Studies. Lectures are concurrent with FRENCH 349 and students may also attend 349 discussion classes. Dedicated graduate seminars will be timetabled by agreement with the course coordinator.

The course presupposes a good knowledge of film “grammar” (shot analysis, mise en scène, editing techniques and so on) and will provide all students with ample opportunity to develop existing knowledge. Students are also expected to demonstrate a level of sustained engagement with theoretical issues introduced in lectures.

French students will complete all assessments 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) will be available.

Availability 2021

Not taught in 2021




Provisional Film List:

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 www.imdb.com. French students see http://www.allocine.fr/.

Recommended Reading

Guy Austin. Contemporary French Cinema. Manchester U.P., 2008. 2nd ed.
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)


FRENCH 749: 30.0 points



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