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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - French

Undergraduate Course: The French New Wave (ELCF10074)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryOne of the most influential and celebrated movements in the history of modern cinema, the French New Wave lastingly transformed French and world cinema with its bold approach to the cinematic medium and tackling of new themes more resonant with the post-war generation. This course traces the origins of French New Wave cinema and studies some of its most iconic works in their social, political and cultural contexts. Topics for discussion include the artistic doctrine and aesthetic of the movement; the politics of gender, new mode of production and avant-garde cinematic techniques of New Wave films; the relation between film and the other arts; the blurring between documentary and fiction. We will also address the question of improvisation in artistic practice and assess the input of a new generation of actors who were to embody the revolutionary spirit of the New Wave.
Course description MANDATORY

Week 1: Introduction; François Truffaut, Les Mistons (1958) (short)

Week 2: Claude Chabrol, Les Cousins (1959)

Weeks 3-4: François Truffaut, Jules et Jim (1962)

Weeks 5-6: Jean-Luc Godard, Pierrot le fou (1965)

Week 7: Agnès Varda: La Pointe Courte (1955)

Week 8: Jacques Démy: Lola (1961)

Weeks 9-10: Jacques Rivette, Paris nous appartient (1960)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: French 2 (ELCF08001)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Entry to Honours in French
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the French New Wave in its socio-historical and cultural contexts as well as a good understanding of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks needed to analyse films pertaining to the movement.
  2. To select and apply relevant theoretical and methodological approaches in the critical evaluation of film and to demonstrate mastery of relevant technical terminology and research methods.
  3. To assess and synthesise primary and secondary sources and to engage critically with these sources, showing awareness of nuance and accommodating ambiguities.
  4. To construct coherent arguments which engage effectively with the sources and the relevant contexts and to present them with a high level of clarity in both oral and written form.
  5. To demonstrate autonomy and initiative in their activities, carry out independent research under the guidance of the tutor, and to show awareness of their own and others¿ roles and responsibilities as part of a team.
Reading List
Films for Study
Agnès Varda, La Pointe courte (1955)
Claude Chabrol, Les Cousins (1959)
François Truffaut, Les Mistons (short; 1958); Jules et Jim (1962)
Jacques Demy, Lola (1961)
Jacques Rivette, Paris nous appartient (1960)
Jean-Luc Godard, Pierrot le fou (1965)

Secondary Reading
Austin, Guy, Claude Chabrol (Manchester: MUP, 1999)
Baeque, Antoine de, La Nouvelle Vague: portrait d'une jeunesse (Paris: Flammarion, 1998)
Baeque, Antoine de and Charles Tesson, eds., La Nouvelle Vague. Petite anthologie des Cahiers du cinéma (Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 1999)
Bazin, André, 'La Politique des auteurs', Cahiers du cinéma, 70 (1957)
Graham Peter and Ginette Vincendeau, eds., The French New Wave: Critical Landmarks (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
Greene, Naomi, The French New Wave: A New Look (London: Wallflower, 2007)
Holmes Diana and Robert Ingram, François Truffaut (Manchester: MUP, 1998)
Marie, Michel, La Nouvelle Vague: Une école artistique (Paris: Nathan, 1997)
Morrey, Douglas and Alison Smith, Jacques Rivette (Manchester: MUP, 2010)
Neupert, Richard, A History of the French New Wave Cinema (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007)
Ostrovska, Dorota, Reading the French New Wave (Columbia University Press, 2008)
Sellier, Geneviève, Masculine Singular: French New Wave Cinema (Duke UP, 2008)
Smith, Alison, Agnès Varda (Manchester: MUP, 1998)
Taboulay, Camille, Le Cinéma enchanté de Jacques Demy (Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 1996)
Truffaut, François, ¿Une certaine tendance du cinéma français¿, Cahiers du cinéma, 31 (1954), 15-29
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course, students will have further developed their skills in the areas of research and enquiry, personal and intellectual autonomy, communication, and personal effectiveness. For further specification of these skills see the university¿s graduate and employability skills framework at
KeywordsFrench New Wave
Course organiserProf Marion Schmid
Tel: (0131 6)50 8409
Course secretaryMrs Elsie Gach
Tel: (0131 6)50 8421
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