Recording Illusions - A History of French and Francophone Cinema

R1B (Section 1) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation (Summer Session D -- 6 weeks)
Summer 2015
M. Smith


Course Reader


This class is based on the premise that, at its origins, French cinema was guided by two distinct impulses. The first was to document life in its raw and immediate state. The second was to create startling and magnificently staged illusions. In this course, we will trace these two currents as they evolve, overlap and often merge together throughout the history of French and Francophone cinema. We will begin with the founders of French cinema—the Lumière brothers and Georges Méliès —and proceed chronologically through many of its main movements (Surrealism, Poetic Realism, New Wave, Cinéma Vérité, Cinéma du Look, Banlieu Cinema, etc.).

Our discussions will be organized around three key questions: What kinds of stories do these films tell? How do they tell them? And why and to whom are they told? More generally, we will try to understand from a socio-historical perspective why we care so much, or so little, about film as a cultural practice.

Additional information: 

This course fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement in the College of Letters and Science. Class conducted in ENGLISH.


Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes