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    Selected topics in French cinema since 1945.

    If we believe many of the directors of French new wave cinema (from roughly 1959-64), then we might be mistaken for thinking that they single-handedly pulled France out of its post-war depression and proved that it could, again, compete on the world stage as a modern nation. Such was the 'myth' of the French new wave.

    In this paper we focus tightly upon the five years in which Varda, Truffaut, Godard and Resnais burst upon the scene. We examine the claims they made: that jumpcuts and hand-held camerawork, Parisian streets and existential angst could innovate, rejuvenate and generally change Paris - France - the world! In so doing we consider how innovation and change happen on screen and the extraordinary capacity that cinema has for communicating within and across national boundaries.

    About this paper

    Paper title French Cinema
    Subject Media, Film and Communication
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    18 200-level MFCO or FIME points
    FIME 304
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music
    Teaching staff

    Associate Professor Catherine Fowler

    Paper Structure
    The paper is divided between two topics:
    • First, through a focus on the context of post-war France, we investigate the 'myth of the new wave'
    • Second, we shift our focus from France to Europe and from contexts to texts to examine issues with wider relevance to European cinemas: stars, realism, modernism, gender and counter-cinema
    • Group Presentation 30%
    • Essay 50%
    • Exam 20%
    Course reader
    Course outline

    View a sample course outline for MFCO 314

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will:

    • Demonstrate sophisticated understanding of the significant contextual elements that brought about change in the new wave period
    • Be able to analyse the 'myth' of the French new wave as it has been created through film literature
    • Use close textual analysis to compare and contrast 'innovation' in selected film of the French new wave period
    • Discuss and apply in a wider context key concepts in European cinema, such as authorship, realism, modernism and counter-cinema


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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