Spring 2009

Topics in Film Study

Listed in: English, as ENGL-84  |  French, as FREN-64


Dale M. Hudson (Section 01)


(Also French 64.) The topic changes each time the course is taught. In spring 2009 the topic will be “ Transnational French Cinemas.” Although canonized as a “national cinema,” French cinema has been an international enterprise since its invention by the Lumières in 1895 and has become increasingly transnational since its centenary in 1995. This course examines contradictory national and transnational impulses within French cinema across four overlapping moments: (1) a “pre-national” moment when French companies dominated the world market, including Pathé films shot in New Jersey (USA) and colonial films shot within la plus grande France of the empire; (2) a “national” moment when sound films, ciné-clubs, and magazines began to codify categories of high art and mass media, through the complexities of French-Italian co-productions and the New Wave; (3) a “post-national” moment defined via le cinéma du look, heritage cinema, and English-language super-productions, whilst advocating for the “cultural exception” via culturally specific films in jeune, beur, banlieue, and women’s cinemas; and (4) a “global” moment of “cultural diversity” that includes popular genre films that draw upon Hong Kong action and Hollywood digital effects for domestic consumption, alongside festival support and financing of international art films by filmmakers from Iran and Taiwan, as well as proactive investment in world-wide French film festivals and selective inclusion of postcolonial francophone cinemas. We will examine historical and strategic shifts in definitions as to when a film is officially “French” due to its site of production, the citizenships of its filmmakers, its sources of financing, or its style and content. Films produced in, or financed by, Algeria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada (Québec), Congo, France, Haiti, Italy, Iran, Mali, Martinique, Morocco, Sénégal, Taiwan, Tunisia, USA, Viet Nam, and West Germany will be screened. Weekly film screenings. Course conducted in English; students may submit written work in French or English. French majors are required to enroll for this course through French. Requisite: An introductory course to cinema studies or equivalent. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Hudson.