French Film & Cinema 

Our class in French cinema and film offers a diverse mix of classic and contemporary French language films.  The instructor, Manon Bellet, is a French cinephile who has a real passion for movies.  In this course, we watch French language films, examine their directors and actors, view excerpts of the films to analyze the themes and language, and learn vocabulary and expressions related to a specific film and to cinema in general.  The course provides a deeper understanding and analysis of French films in a relaxed environment on Zoom.

Each film is presented in its French audio with English subtitles. Discussion will be in French.

Class meets Wednesday night (see dates below) at 6:45 p.m. online on Zoom.

Fee: $12 per session or $80 for the full semester.

Click here to register for the class.

Please find below the list of dates and films for this semester. If interested in only attending a single session, please contact Manon Bellet at a week before each session.

Mercredi le 9 septembre – Wednesday, September 9

Van Gogh, Maurice Pialat, 1991

This dark French drama focuses on the final months before Vincent Van Gogh’s tragic suicide. After leaving the asylum, Van Gogh settles in Auvers-sur-Oise, in the home of Doctor Gachet, an art lover and patron. Vincent keeps painting amidst the conflict with his brother, Theo, and the torments of his failing mental health. He has an affair with Marguerite, his host’s daughter. However, she soon realizes that he doesn’t love her and that his heart beats only for his art.

Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Winner of Best Actor (Jacques Dutronc) and nominated for Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (Gerard Sety and Bernard Le Coq) , Best Director, and Best Screenplay, Original or Adaptation at the César Awards.

Mercredi le 23 septembre – Wednesday, September 23

Gauguin:Voyage to Tahiti, film from Édouard Deluc, 2018

Painter Paul Gauguin (Vincent Cassel) is already well-known in Parisian artistic circles, but is tired of the so-called civilized world and its political, moral and artistic conventions. Leaving his wife and children behind, he ventures alone to the other end of the world, Tahiti, consumed with a yearning for original purity, and ready to sacrifice everything for his quest. Impoverished and solitary, Gauguin pushes deep into the Tahitian jungle, where he meets the Maoris and Tehura, his muse, who will inspire his most iconic works of art.

Mercredi le 30 septembre – Wednesday, September 30

Discovering Brigitte Bardot, 2014

This documentary tells the story of Brigitte Bardot’s incredible rise to fame while giving an overview of how the world fell for her looks and her charms. Along with Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot was the embodiment of female sexuality and she drew hordes of admirers to her French films. Charting her early life and passions for ballet and her subsequent front-page modeling career, we witness how Bardot became one of the biggest movie stars in the world.

With an array of interviews from established experts on French film, this dynamic documentary reveals the remarkable and sometimes tragic story behind the woman who became the icon of France.

Mercredi le 14 octobre – Wednesday, October 14

Contempt (Le mépris) from Jean-luc Godard, 1964

A philistine in the art film business, Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) is a producer unhappy with the work of his director. Prokosch has hired Fritz Lang (as himself) to direct an adaptation of “The Odyssey,” but when it seems that the legendary filmmaker is making a picture destined to bomb at the box office, he brings in a screenwriter (Michel Piccoli) to energize the script. The professional intersects with the personal when a rift develops between the writer and his wife (Brigitte Bardot).

Mercredi le 28 octobre – Wednesday, October 28

Lesson about the film maker, Jean-Luc Godard , born 1930

French-Swiss film director, screenwriter and film critic. He rose to prominence as a pioneer of the 1960s French New Wave film movement.
Like his New Wave contemporaries, Godard criticized mainstream French cinema’s “Tradition of Quality,” which “emphasized craft over innovation, privileged established directors over new directors, and preferred the great works of the past to experimentation.

Mercredi le 11 novembre – Wednesday, November 11

Cinema theory, introduction and discussion of Agnès Varda’s films

Agnès Varda was a Belgian-born French film director, photographer and artist. Her work was pioneering for, and central to, the development of the widely influential French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Her films focused on achieving documentary realism, addressing feminist issues, and/or producing other social commentary, with a distinctive experimental style. Her work employed location shooting in an era when the limitations of sound technology made it easier and more common to film indoors. Her use of non-professional actors was also unconventional in the context of 1950s French cinema.

Mercredi le 18 novembre – Wednesday, November 18

From Here to There (Part 1), 2011 Agnès Varda

The much-anticipated follow up to Agnès Varda’s The Beaches of Agnes, From Here to There is a five-part documentary series that chronicles the peerless and indefatigable director’s travels around the world, meeting friends, artists and filmmakers, for an expansive view of the contemporary art scene.

Mercredi le 9 décembre – Wednesday, December 9

From Here to There (Part 2), 2011 Agnès Varda

Continuation of the film Agnès Varda:  From Here to There