module specification

SJ6059 - The French New Wave (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title The French New Wave
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Practical Examination 40%   Presentation
Coursework 60%   3,500 Word Essay
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module charts the development of the French New Wave, a group of films of the late 1950s and 1960s and one of the most influential movements in film history.
The work of a new generation of directors many of whom had started as film critics, the module will consider this distinctive film style in the context of the social changes that transformed post-war French society and culture.
In tandem with the rise of cinephilia and the love of American cinema, the module will trace the passage from theory into practice. The textual properties of the films and their artistic innovations will be explored in connection with the representation of youth, modernity, the city of Paris, history and gender relations.

Module aims

The main aims of this module are:

To trace the history of post-war French film criticism and its impact upon not only a style of filmmaking associated with a particular national cinema, but also on film studies as an academic discipline.

To encourage students to evaluate the influence of cultural, social and intellectual forces in shaping  New Wave film-making.

To criticially interrogate the relationship between text, context and issues of representation.

To analyse a range of films critically and to relate them to the context in which they produced.


This module investigates the French New Wave from both a theoretical and historical perspective.

Using a variety of films, the module explores post-war film criticism, cinephilia and its relationship to Hollywood, the passage from theory into practice, film style, mise en scene and authorship, the rise of new stars and performance style, the representation of youth, the city of Paris, history and gender relations.

Learning and teaching

This module will be supported by lectures, seminars, workshops and web-based resources.
Blended learning will be deployed through WebLearn to support teaching and learning including visual resources, readings and learning materials. Opportunities for reflective learning will be facilitated though seminars, presentations and workshops.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will have developed:

Specialised knowledge of a period when key concepts of film theory originated and demonstrate an ability to think through the implications for film studies as an academic discipline.

Critical understanding of the nature of a national film ‘movement’, its textual properties, formal concerns and thematic preoccupations and be able to communicate effectively the interrelationship between theory and practice in both written and seminar contexts.

Ability to analyse and discuss film in relation to relevant cultural, political, historical and industrial contexts and their impact on aesthetics and representation.

Develop skills in critical analysis and oral presentation as well as transferable skills through seminar presentations.

Assessment strategy

This module’s mode of assessment promotes independent learning and transferable skills. Building on the presentation and the formal feedback they receive, students will have the opportunity to focus in-depth on an essay topic and to demonstrate their understanding of a range of issues around the French New Wave, film style and representation in their final assignment.


Peter Graham with Ginette Vincendeau, The New Wave. Critical Landmarks (London: Palgrave, 2009).

Naomi Green. The New Wave. A New Look (London: Wallflower, 2008).

Richard Neupert, A History of the French New Wave (Wisconsin: Wisconsin University Press, 2002)

Geneviève Sellier, Masculine Singular. French New Wave Cinema (Duram: Duke University Press, 2008).