Module Catalogue 2020/21

FRE2005 : Classic French Cinema

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sarah Leahy
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



•       In consonance with the overall aims of the degrees offered in the SML, to build on skills gained at Stage 1, and to provide students with an introduction to key aspects of the history of French cinema from 1930-1960.
•       To provide students with an understanding of important debates in Film Studies.
•       To prepare students for postgraduate study in the area of film studies.
•       To make aspects of the above available to students from outside the degree.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will attend 22 lectures, 11 seminars and 4 assessment preparation sessions. There will also be 6 optional film screenings which students are strongly encouraged to attend. The lectures will be devoted to the films, their context, and to preparatory reading which will be set in advance. There will be the opportunity to ask questions during these sessions. Seminars will be devoted to sequence analyses, which students will be asked to prepare in advance, and discussion of the preparatory reading. Seminars will include group work and class discussion.
Weekly topics may include:
1 Intro to module and to presentation-giving.
2 The 1930s
3. L’Atalante
4. Le Jour se lève
5. The 1940s
6. Le Corbeau
7. Jour de Fête
8. The 1950s
9. Casque d’or
10. Et Dieu créa la femme.
11. Conclusion to module.
12. Revision session – exam practice.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will have had the opportunity to gain:
•       Knowledge and understanding of three decades of French cinema history.
•       Knowledge and understanding of key debates in French cinema.
•       Knowledge and understanding of the relationship between film form, content and the production context.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will have had the opportunity to practice:
•       Taking notes effectively in lectures and seminars, from journals and secondary material.
•       Developing critical and analytical skills, learning to construct coherent arguments and to use textual and cinematographic evidence to support them.
•       Finding secondary material in bibliographies devoted to film.
•       Group work during seminars.
•       Analysing sequences of film closely.
•       Presenting group work findings during seminars

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading721:0072:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Workshops.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study901:0090:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module will explore three different decades of French cinema history, commonly thought of as the ‘classical period’, from the coming of sound in the 1930s, to the advent of the New Wave in the 1950s.Students will be expected to read preparatory texts closely as lectures will assume knowledge of these. Seminars will entail analysis of film sequences in small groups followed by class debate which will draw on the concepts discussed in lectures. The following skills will be developed:
Preparatory work for the lectures and seminars: bibliographical work, planning and organizing, independent study.
Lectures: Note-taking.
Seminars: Note-taking, teamwork (including initiative, adaptability and interpersonal communication), arguing opinions, analysing sequences, oral communication and presentation skills, problem solving.
Guided independent study includes film screenings and weekly required reading, as well as suggested further viewing and reading. Students are also encouraged to carry out their own independent research.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M401500 word sequence analysis. To be submitted during Semester 2.
Essay2A602500 word essay. To be submitted at the end of Semester 2.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MSequence analysis of 750 words. Week 5.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative assessment for this module is in two parts:

1.       A Written exercise: sequence analysis of 1500 words.
2.       An Essay of 2500 words.

The first part consists of a sequence analysis. The sequence will be taken from one of the films studied on the module, and 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 of 1500 words. 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.

The second part consists of a 2500 word essay 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.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.