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FR268 French Cinema and Society from the First to the Second World War

Module Code: FR268
Module Name: French Cinema and Society from the First to the Second World War
Module Coordinator: Dr Reece Goodall
Term 1
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

To introduce to key works, artists, techniques and debates in the so-called ‘classical’ period of French cinema from the late 1910s until the mid-1940s.

To survey key events, actors, debates and problems in French social and political history of the period from the First World War to the Liberation.

To explore and critically debate the relationship of mutual influence and interpenetration between the social and political history of France and its cinematic representations during the same period.

To show how specific audiovisual techniques are used in filmmaking to convey ideas and emotions.


  1. Introduction: Studying history through film; looking at film historically: La Grande Illusion (1937)
  2. French Cinema and the First World War: J’accuse (1919)
  3. Les années folles and French Impressionism: Cœur fidèle (1923)

  4. The Popular Front: La Belle Équipe (1936)
  5. ‘Poetic realism’: Le Jour se lève (1939)
  6. Reading week
  7. Renoir the Master: La Règle du jeu (1939)
  8. Filming under the Occupation: Le Corbeau (1943)
  9. The Summit of Classical French cinema: Les Enfants du Paradis (1945)
  10. Looking back: Panique (1946)

Assessment Method:

Assessed essay of 2750-3000 words (80%)

Student presentation of 10 minutes (20%)