FR20130 French New Wave

Academic Year 2020/2021

This module offers students the opportunity to study a range of films from one of the most important periods of French cinema. The formal, thematic and contextual study of six major films, accompanied by a reading programme of contemporary and more recent texts, will identify and analyze the main characteristics of the New Wave. Consideration will be given to relevant aspects of the political and social context of the period (the foundation of the Fifth Republic, decolonisation, feminism), but the films will be viewed primarily from a cinematic perspective: both as individual works and as representative of a wider reconceptualisation of the vocation and potential of cinema. The following films will be studied: 'Les Quatre Cents Coups', François Truffaut (1959); `Hiroshima mon amour', Alain Resnais (1959); 'A bout de souffle', Jean-Luc Godard (1960); 'Chronique d'un été', Edgar Morin & Jean Rouch (1960); 'Cléo de 5 à 7', Agnès Varda (1962). Prescribed Text: Michel Marie, `La Nouvelle Vague: une école artistique' (Armand Colin, 1998).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
- Provide in-depth analysis of New Wave films;
- Situate the New Wave cinema in its historical context;
- Identify the formal and thematic innovations introduced by New Wave directors;
- Define and assess critically the New Wave conception of cinema ('auteur' theory);
- Discuss and assess critically the impact of the New Wave on film-making in France.

Indicative Module Content:

For key topics, see general module descriptor description.

Set Films:
Les Quatre Cents Coups, François Truffaut (1959)
A bout de souffle, Jean-Luc Godard (1960)
Hiroshima mon amour, Alain Resnais (1959)
Chronique d'un été, Edgar Morin & Jean Rouch (1960)
Cléo de 5 à 7, Agnès Varda (1962)

Prescribed Texts:
Michel Marie, La Nouvelle Vague: une école artistique, 4e édition revue et augmentée (Paris: Armand Colin, 1998).
Additional required reading materials in French and English will be made available online.

General Bibliography:
Baecque, Antoine de, La Nouvelle Vague: portrait d’une jeunesse (Paris: Flammarion, 1998).
Douchet, Jean, Nouvelle vague (Paris; Hazan, 1999).
Graham, Peter and Vincendeau, Ginette (eds), The French New Wave: Critical Landmarks (London: BFI/Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
Greene, Naomi, The French New Wave: A New Look (London: Wallflower, 2007).
Monaco, James, The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976).
Neupert, Richard, A History of the French New Wave Cinema (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002).
Sellier, Geneviève, La Nouvelle Vague, un cinéma au masculin singulier (Paris: CNRS, 2005).

Indicative Weekly Reading Programme:

1 Introduction No reading
2 Truffaut 1 Alexandre Astruc, ‘Naissance d’une nouvelle avant-garde: la caméra-stylo’
3 Truffaut 2 Anne Gillain, ‘The Script of Delinquency’
4 Godard 1 Luc Moullet, ‘Jean-Luc Godard’
5 Godard 2 Michel Marie, ‘It Really Makes You Sick’
6 No seminar
7 Resnais 1 Roundtables from Cahiers du Cinéma and Positif
8 Resnais 2 Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier, ‘How History Begets Meaning’.
9 Rouch/Morin Edgar Morin, ‘Chronique d’un film’
10 Varda Sandy Flitterman-Lewis ‘From Déesse to Idée’
11 Conclusion
12 No seminar

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
As the learning objectives of the module are compromised by social distancing and the wearing of facemasks, all classes (lectures and seminars) will take place online, and are scheduled according to the university timetable. Active participation in these classes is required. Full engagement with material and tasks made accessible in Brightspace is expected every week.

Weekly timetabled seminars are supported by weekly timetabled lectures and independent viewing of films undertaken in students' own time. Lectures will introduce general issues concerning the course material. Seminars will be devoted to discussions of set readings (in French and English) and film clips. Assessment is by mid-term essay and end-of-term essay. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Level-one language module FR10070 is a prerequisite for this module.

Learning Exclusions:


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
FR10020 - French Language I b, FR10070 - French Grammar & Expression

La Nouvelle Vague (FR30180)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Essay (2000 words) Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment: Essay (1500 words) Varies over the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Mid-term essay submitted in Week 7, group in-class feedback in Week 9, individual written feedback in Week 10, final assessment: end-of-module exam.

Marie, Michel, La Nouvelle Vague, une école artistique, 4e édition revue et augmentée (Paris: Armand Colin, 2017).