Avant-garde Currents in French Cinema

Languages & Cultures, School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music

College of Arts and Law


Code 20514

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 1 and 2. This module is due to run 2012-2013.

Module description

N.B. By definition, some of the set films on this module contain explicit and/or controversial representations to do with sexuality, politics, religion, and other topics.

This module will introduce students to some of the key moments of French avant-garde film, and familiarise them with ways in which French cinema¿s rich legacy of experimentalism and unconventionality has developed in post-war and contemporary contexts. This will involve studying films that are `avant-garde¿ or experimental in form (such as obscure Dada films, the psychoanalytic Surrealist cinema of Dalí and Buñuel, and Jean Cocteau¿s magical fantasies) as well as works that deal with identities (sexual, bodily, political and social) from outside the mainstream. Following a chronological distribution, the course will conclude by looking at the extent to which French cinema¿s avant-garde legacy is (or is not) continued by modern French film production, taking in works such as Ozon¿s queer comedy Sitcom and Claire Denis¿s acclaimed film about soldiers in the French Foreign Legion, Beau travail. In addition to the particular challenges posed by individual films, the diverse and provocative body of texts covered on this module will present students with a host of methodological questions appropriate to the demands of final-year study.