Global Opportunities

FRE4006 : Contemporary French Cinema

Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

•       In consonance with the overall aims of the degrees offered in the SML to build on skills gained at Stages 1 and 2, and to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of aspects of French cinema.
•       To prepare students for postgraduate study in the area of French Cultural studies or Film Studies.
•       To develop students’ language skills in spoken and written French, especially in the areas of French culture and cinema.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will study 6 key contemporary French films of the twenty-first century. Fiction and documentary films, drawn from both popular and auteurist cinema will be used to explore important concepts in film studies such as: realism, the relationship between film and the real, and between film and contemporary reality; stardom; genre; cultural identities and representation. In addition, we will explore the context - both industrial and socio-political – in which the films are made, focusing in particular on ideas of the national and how they link to republican values, Europe and the legacies of colonialism.

Films to be studied may include: Intouchables (Nakache and Toledano, 2012), Bande de filles (Sciamma, 2014), Potiche (Ozon, 2010), Nous (Diop, 2020), Orlando Ferito (Dieutre, 2013), L’Image manquante (Panh, 2013).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00Pre-recorded lectures will provide students with essential contextual information.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion501:0050:00Research, planning, drafting and editing for sequence analysis and essay.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading441:0044:00Guided viewing and reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00PiP. Focus on thematic and stylistic close analysis and help link to historical and cultural context
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity61:006:00Group discussion of screening notes/reading, seminar preparation activities.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Additional assessment support
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study671:0067:00Viewing, reading, research, note-taking.
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module will study 6 key contemporary French films of the twenty-first century. Fiction and documentary films, drawn from both popular and auteurist cinema will be used to explore important concepts in film studies such as: realism, the relationship between film and the real, and between film and contemporary reality; stardom; genre; cultural identities and representation. In addition, we will explore the context - both industrial and socio-political – in which the films are made, focusing in particular on ideas of the national and how they link to republican values, Europe and the legacies of colonialism.

Films to be studied may include: Intouchables (Nakache and Toledano, 2012), Bande de filles (Sciamma, 2014), Potiche (Ozon, 2010), Nous (Diop, 2020), Orlando Ferito (Dieutre, 2013), L’Image manquante (Panh, 2013).

The module will be taught in two blocks; the first focusing on fiction films will be taught in French and the second, on documentary, in English. In each week, students will have a recorded lecture and a two-hour seminar. It has been decided to retain lectures as recordings for three reasons:
· Evaluation from last year showed that a majority of students appreciated the online elements as part of the module contact hours.
· The blended learning mode of teaching showed to be very effective as it allowed students to reflect in their own time.
· The external examiner comments suggested this worked well.

Each block will focus on three main films which will be used for assessment, plus additional contextual viewing. Screening notes will be provided for each of the main films and students will be expected to discuss these in groups prior to the seminars. In addition, each week will have essential and recommended preparatory readings, and these (along with the pre-recorded lectures), will provide context and frame the key debates that will inform discussion in the present-in-person seminars.
Class discussion will support comprehension, encourage students to relate the films they are studying to their wider knowledge and to engage with different types of primary and secondary sources. Seminars will allow students to test their knowledge and develop skills of critical engagement with these sources, including close textual analysis, discourse analysis and evaluating sources. If in-person teaching is not possible, the seminars can be run as online Zoom classes.

The following skills will be developed:
Preparatory work for the lectures and seminars: bibliographical work, planning and organizing, independent and group study.
Lectures: Note-taking; time management.
Seminars: Note-taking, teamwork (including initiative, adaptability and interpersonal communication), developing an argument, evaluating sources, analysing sequences, oral communication and presentation skills, problem solving.

NB: THIS MODULE WILL BE TAUGHT AND ASSESSED IN BOTH FRENCH AND ENGLISH. PART 1 AND THE MID-MODULE ASSESSMENT WILL BE IN FRENCH; PART 2 AND THE END OF MODULE ASSESSMENT WILL BE IN ENGLISH.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M30A sequence analysis, to be written in French, of no more than 1000 words, on a sequence to be provided. Week 7.
Essay2M70An essay, to be written in English, of no more than 3000 words, responding to one of a set of questions provided.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MEssay introduction & plan (approx. 500 words). Requirement to give feedback on each others’ work. Set wk 3, submitted wk 5.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative assessment is in two parts:

1.       Sequence analysis of 1000 words (30%), in French. Students must provide a sequence analysis on a film extract from one of the films studied on the module. The sequences will be provided along with a list of questions/aspects that students may wish to consider in their analysis. This should take the form of an essay-style commentary. The exercise is designed to test students’ ability to analyse form, content and context, and to relate these three aspects of the sequence to each other. This component of the assessment will be in French and will allow students to demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas and arguments fluently and succinctly in French and to develop skills of close textual analysis, which will also support them for the second component.

2.       Essay of 3000 words (70%), in English, in which students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of context and film style as well as to engage critically with appropriate academic sources. Questions will be designed to test the students' ability to draw on specific textual analysis of the films, as well as demonstrating links between formal aspects of the films and the broader concepts discussed in lectures, in order to show their overall understanding of the period and its key films. Students will be expected to have acquired a good knowledge of relevant scholarly writing as well as the films themselves. This component of the assessment will be in English, because much of the reading and theoretical texts underpinning block two of the module is in English. It will allow students to demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas and arguments fluently and succinctly in English, and to develop the following skills: independent research, close textual analysis, bibliographical work, planning and organizing, word-processing, footnoting and referencing.

In addition, there will be a formative assessment. This will be set in week 3 and will take the form of an extended introduction. Students will have to reflect on the purpose of the introduction in setting out the hypothesis, key debates and in outlining the plan of the essay, and provide feedback on their peers’ work. This exercise will help develop the following skills:

•       Critical review, developing and communicating an argument, planning and organising.
•       Teamwork and interpersonal communication, problem solving.

Reading Lists

Timetable