Le Cinema Francais et Screenwriting in French

designed by Michele Wells with the collaboration of Dr. Julia Keefer

New York University

Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Professor: Dr. Julia Keefer

Summer 2007 / 4 credits

Proposal for Independent Coursework:

French Cinema and Screenwriting

Course Description

What religious, political, and intellectual influences makes French cinema distinctive from that of other cultures? What cultural, social, and economic impact did French films have during their time, and what importance do they have in today's cinema? This interdisciplinary independent study not only explores classic French films from the 1950s to today, but also provides a vehicle for intermediate-level French language comprehension and writing skills.

In this course focusing on French cinema and the mechanics of writing a screenplay in French, the successful student will learn to view literary, artistic, and intellectual developments in screenwriting as closely related and interdependent. S/he will gain an understanding of the political, social, and intellectual forces which led to the emergence of modern France , as well as reflect critically upon the heritage of the most recent past and the position of France today in a global context. The ultimate goal of this course is to offer an intellectually coherent and challenging program, which, at the same time, prepares the student to write screenplays competently in another language.

Course Objectives

The student will further develop competencies in the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in French, as well as receiving an enriched understanding of the French culture. By the end of the course, the student will be able to perform such communicative functions as: initiating a conversation on a specific subject, expressing an opinion and presenting an argument

Within the dramatic writing component of this independent study, the student will:

Within the language component of the independent study, the student will:


Reading List

  1. Austin, Guy. Contemporary French Cinema: An Introduction (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996). ISBN: 978-0719046117
  2. Bishop, Graham. Developing Writing Skills in French ( New York : Routledge, 2005). ISBN: 978-0415348973
  3. Hayward, Susan. French Film: Texts and Contexts ( New York : Routledge, 2000). ISBN: 978-0415161183
  4. Lang, Margaret. Modern French Grammar Workbook ( New York : Routledge, 2005). ISBN: 978-0415331630
  5. Lang, Margaret. Modern French Grammar: A Practical Guide ( New York : Routledge, 2004). ISBN: 978-0415331623
  6. Lanzoni, Remi. French Cinema From Its Beginnings to the Present (New York, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004)  ISBN: 978-0826416001
  7. Larousse. Larousse French Dictionary ( Boston : Houghton Mifflin/Larousse, 2005). ISBN: 978-2035421401  
  8. Norman, Jill and Henri Orteu. The Penguin French Phrase Book (New York: Penguin Group USA, 1998). ISBN: 9780140099423
  9. Powrie, Phillip. French Cinema: A Student's Guide ( London : Hodder Arnold, 2003). ISBN: 978-0340760048
  10. Stein, Gail. The Pocket Idiot's Guide to French Phrases ( New York : Penguin Group USA, 2004). ISBN: 9781592571826


  1. Beineix , Jean-Jacques. Diva, 1981.
  2. Berliner, Alain. Ma Vie en Rose ( My Life in Pink ), 1997.
  3. Caro, Marc. Delicatessen , 1991 or La Cit é des Enfants Perdus ( The City of Lost Children ), 1995.
  4. Clouzot , Henri-Georges. Le Salaire de la Peur ( The Wages of Fear ), 1953.
  5. Godard, Jean-Luc. À Bout de Souffle ( Breathless ), 1960.
  6. Jeunet, Jean-Pierre. Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain ( Am é lie ), 2001.
  7. Kassovitz, Mathieu. La Haine ( Hate ), 1995.
  8. Kieslowski, Krzysztof. The Trois Coleurs series, 1993 -1994.
  9. Malle, Louis. Au Revoir les Enfants ( Goodbye, Children ), 1987.
  10. Melville, Jean-Pierre. Le Cercle Rouge ( The Red Circle ), 1970.
  11. Renoir, Jean. La Règle du Jeu ( The Rules of the Game ), 1959.
  12. Resnais, Alain. Hiroshima Mon Amour , 1959.
  13. Rohmer, Eric. L' Amour l'Après-Midi ( Chloe in the Afternoon ), 1970 or Pauline à la Plage ( Pauline at the Beach ) 1983.
  14. Truffaut, Francois. Les Quatre Cents Coups ( The 400 Blows ), 1959 or Jules et Jim , 1962.
  15. Veber, Francis. Le Dîner de Cons ( The Dinner Game ), 1998.
  16. Wargnier, Regis. Est-Ouest (East-West), 1999.