TCF 340 International Cinema
French Film

Fall 1999
Instructor: Jeremy Butler
Office: 430C Phifer
Office hours: TT 1:00-3:00, & by appt. 348-6350
Online grades:

Course Description:

TCF 340 assumes the student understands generally the contours of international cinema history. The course's objective therefore is to investigate in some depth the cinematic work of a particular nation and the historical/theoretical issues pertaining to it. This term our topic will be the French cinema.


  1. An analytical exercise based upon the principles discussed in Bordwell and Thompson's Film Art. Worth 15 points.

  2. Three exams. The first two will be during classtime (12 October and 2 November) and the third will be administered during the final exam period: Thursday, 16 December, 8-10:30 a.m. Early exams will not be given. Each is worth 25 points, for a total of 75.

  3. One take-home essay, which will synthesize concepts presented over the course of the entire semester. Essay topics will be distributed 9 December and the essay will be due at the final exam period: 16 December, 8:00 a.m. It must be word-processed and, if necessary, properly footnoted. Worth 10 points.

Grade scale:

A  93-100   C  73-76
A- 90-92    C- 70-72
B+ 87-89    D+ 67-69
B  83-86    D  63-66
B- 80-82    D- 60-62
C+ 77-79    F  59 and below

Film Screenings & Credits:

Most films will be shown on videotape/DVD Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. in room 216. You may bring guests with you. There will be no other screenings of the films, but Blockbuster Video does carry a few of the titles, and two or three of them are available in the audio-visual section of the Gorgas Library.

Credits are available from the Internet Movie Database. Follow the links below to find credits for specific films.

Attendance Policy:

Each student is permitted four absences. Each absence beyond four will result in one point being deducted from the student's final grade (maximum penalty: five points).

Course Schedule (subject to changes announced in class):

Date Topic/Film/Discussion Readings
8/26 Introduction to Course
DAY FOR NIGHT (Truffaut, 1973)
8/31 Film Analysis: Narrative Form Bordwell/Thompson, chs. 3, 4
9/2 Film Analysis: Visual Style
MY OTHER HUSBAND (Lautner, 1983)
Bordwell/Thompson, chs. 6, 7
9/7 Film Analysis: Editing and Sound Bordwell/Thompson, chs. 8, 9
9/9 11:00 a.m. Analytical Exercise Due
Click here for Exercise illustrations!

7:00 p.m. Early French Cinema

9/14 Discussion Armes, 34-66
9/16 The Avant-Garde: Dada & Surrealism (Illustrations)
UN CHIEN ANDALOU (Buñuel/Dali, 1928)
ENTR'ACTE (Clair, 1924), À PROPOS DE NICE (Vigo, 1929)
9/21 Discussion Hughes, 212-255; Bordwell/Thompson, 462-66
9/23 French Cinema Between the Wars I: The Popular Front
THE CRIME OF M. LANGE (Renoir, 1935)
9/28 Discussion Fofi, 172-224
9/30 Bazinian Realism: Jean Renoir (Illustrations)
THE RULES OF THE GAME (Renoir, 1939)
10/5 Discussion Bazin ("Evolution"), 24-51 ("Pop. Front"), 36-52
10/7 French Cinema Between the Wars II: Poetic Realism
LE JOUR SE LÈVE (Carné, 1939)
10/12 Exam #1 Bazin ("LJSL"), 5-12
10/14 French New Wave I: Alain Resnais
HIROSHIMA, MON AMOUR (Resnais, 1959)
10/19 Discussion Monaco ("Resnais"), 34-52
10/21 French New Wave II: François Truffaut (Illustrations)
THE 400 BLOWS (Truffaut, 1959)
10/26 Discussion Monaco ("NW"), 13-36, 87-97
10/28 French New Wave III: Eric Rohmer
11/2 Exam #2 Monaco ("NW"), 286-304; Crisp, 67-74
11/4 French Modernism: Jean-Luc Godard & Bertolt Brecht
BREATHLESS (Godard, 1959)
11/9 Discussion Brecht, 33-42; Wollen, 79-91; MacCabe, 17-25
11/11 Godard and Contemporary Feminism
VIVRE SA VIE (Godard, 1962)
11/16 Discussion MacCabe/Mulvey, 78-104
11/18 French Feminism, Continued: Agn˛s Varda and Claire Denis
VAGABOND (Varda, 1986)
11/23 CHOCOLAT (Denis, 1989) (class will run overtime)
11/25 Thanksgiving Holiday
11/30 Discussion Kuhn, 129-177
12/2 Recent Godard
SOFT AND HARD (Godard/Miéville, 1985)
12/7 Discussion Godard/Miéville, 60-73; Penley, 32-59
12/9 Cinema Ascetic: Robert Bresson
Bresson, 1-18
A MAN ESCAPED (Bresson, 1956)
12/16 Exam #3 and Take-Home Essay
Final Exam Period, Thursday, 8-10:30 a.m.

Reading List

Available at local bookstores:

Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. Fifth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Available through the Academic Publishing Service (Supe Store):

In alphabetical order, not the order in which they are assigned. The format used here adheres to the Turabian style for bibliographies--which is different from its footnote style.

  1. Armes, Roy. French Cinema. NY: Oxford University, 1985.
  2. Bazin, André. "The Era of the Popular Front." In Jean Renoir, pp. 36-52. Edited and with an introduction by Francois Truffaut. Translated by W. W. Halsey II and William H. Simon. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1973.
  3. Bazin, André. "The Evolution of Film Language." In The New Wave, pp. 24-51. Edited and translated by Peter Graham. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968.
  4. Bazin, André. "LE JOUR SE LÊVE . . . Poetic Realism." In LE JOUR SE LÊVE: A Film by Marcel Carné and Jacques Prévert, pp. 5-12. Translated by Dinah Brooke and Nicola Hayden. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1970.
  5. Brecht, Bertolt. "The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre." In Brecht on Theatre, pp. 33-42. Edited and translated by John Willett. New York: Hill and Wang, 1964.
  6. Bresson, Robert. Notes on Cinematography. Translated by Jonathan Griffin. NY: Urizen, 1977.
  7. Crisp, C. G. Eric Rohmer: Realist and Moralist. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1988.
  8. Fofi, Goffredo. "The Cinema of the Popular Front in France (1934-38)." In Screen Reader I, pp. 172-224. London: SEFT, 1977.
  9. Godard, Jean-Luc and Anne-Marie Miéville. "FRANCE/TOUR/DETOUR/TWO/CHILDREN." Camera Obscura, 8-9-10, pp. 60-73.
  10. Kuhn, Annette. Women's Pictures: Feminism and Cinema. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.
  11. Hughes, Robert. The Shock of the New. NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980.
  12. MacCabe, Colin. Godard: Images, Sounds, Politics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, 1980.
  13. Monaco, James. Alain Resnais. NY: Oxford University, 1979.
  14. Monaco, James. The New Wave. NY: Oxford University, 1976.
  15. Penley, Constance. "Les Enfants de la Patrie." Camera Obscura, 8-9-10, pp. 32-59.
  16. Wollen, Peter. "Godard and Counter Cinema: VENT D'EST." In Readings and Writings: Semiotic Counter-Strategies. London: Verso, 1982.

Disabilities Accommodation Policy:

Every effort will be made to accommodate students with disabilities. Please notify Jeremy Butler at the start of the semester if you require such accommodations.

Academic Misconduct Policy:

All acts of dishonesty in any work constitute academic misconduct. The Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Policy will be followed in the event of academic misconduct.

Last revised: August 25, 1999