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Introduction to Film Study: French Cinema in Focus


This course provides an introduction to film through the lens of French national cinema. We study the historical formation of the moving image in France (and beyond); from its humble beginnings as a novel attraction, to its rise as a major medium in its own right, appreciated for both its commercial and artistic appeal. We examine the work of a number of influential auteurs and key periods in the development of French national cinema: including the work of early masters Jean Vigo and Jean Renoir, members of the French New Wave Jean-Luc Godard and Agnès Varda, as well as contemporary filmmakers Mathieu Kassovitz and Olivier Assayas. In addition to undertaking a historical overview of French cinema, this course familiarizes students with a variety of approaches to the analysis of film style and form: mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, sound, performance, etc. While no prior knowledge of French cinema or film analysis is required, a willingness to engage deeply and critically with film is fundamental.