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La Bête humaine

1. You are a team of writers putting together a film magazine for a small art house cinema. La Bête humaine is on this month’s screening list. You have been asked to prepare a review for the keen audience of enthusiastic filmgoers who subscribe to the magazine. Your editor has asked to see a plan for this review this coming Thursday. Prepare an outline of the content of your review, including specific examples from the film. Remember that you are writing for a well-informed audience.



Think about the following when you prepare your review:


  • The significance of the title
  • The treatment of political and social issues
  • The interaction between characters
  • The use of the ‘star’: how attractive are the principal protagonists?
  • The use of space
  • The use of lighting
  • Camera work - camera angle; length of shot; camera movement
  • The use of sound


Some guidelines


  • Work in groups of 2 or 3.
  • Identify specific examples from the film to illustrate your review. For ease of reference, give the time that they appear in the film (ie: 25 minutes 30 secs; 36 minutes 25 secs, etc…)
  • Think about how you will address the ‘4 dimensions’ involved in the discussion of film (see A Short Guide to Writing About Film, by Timothy Corrigan (Longman: New York, 1998)):
    • Links between film and other arts (literature, painting, etc..)
    • Mise-en-scène (the ‘theatrical dimension of the film’: set, costumes, lighting, etc…)
    • Composition (camera shots, editing, etc..)
    • Sound