French Film & Cinema 

Portraits of Women in French 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, after watching French language films, we will examine their directors and actors, analyze the themes and language, and learn vocabulary and expressions related to a specific film and to cinema in general.  Each class includes an open discussion in French and English. 

This course provides a deeper understanding and analysis of French films in a relaxed environment on Zoom.  Because the class is virtual, the students are asked to watch the film (in French with English subtitles) before the lesson.

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

Fee: $40 for the full summer semester.

To register for this class, click here.

Please find below the list of dates and films for this semester. For more information, please contact Manon Bellet at

Mercredi le 9 juin – Wednesday, June 9

Barbara, Mathieu Amalric, 2017

An actress, Brigitte, is preparing to play famous French songstress BARBARA in a new film. Brigitte works on her character, studying Barbara’s voice, her songs, gestures and the way she carries herself. Eventually, the character of BARBARA starts to take her over. As things progress, Yves, the director, becomes infatuated with her — but does his infatuation lie with Brigitte the actress, or BARBARA?

Mercredi le 23 juin – Wednesday, June 23

Memoir of War (La Douleur), Emmanuel Finkiel, 2017

Paris, 1944. In this haunting adaptation of her autobiographical novel, famed author Marguerite Duras shrewdly navigates the French Resistance and the Gestapo to uncover the whereabouts of her imprisoned husband.

Mercredi le 7 juillet – Wednesday, July 7

Marguerite, Xavier Giannoli, 2017

A French/Czech/Belgian comedy/drama written by Xavier Giannoli and Marcia Romano, this film is loosely inspired by the life of Florence Foster Jenkins. Set in the Golden 20s, the film stars Catherine Frot as a wealthy woman who is an enthusiastic amateur singer and believes, wrongly, that she has a beautiful voice. Winner of Best Actress (Catherine Frot) and nominated for Best Director and Best Film at the César Awards. Winner of the Nazareno Taddei Award and nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. “MARGUERITE is a dark delight, a cringe comedy that skirts tragedy throughout, examining delusion, entitlement, denial and the question of whether the truth is essential.”

Mercredi le 21 juillet – Wednesday, July 21

Coco avant Chanel, Anne Fontaine, 2009

Before rising to the top of Parisian haute couture, Gabrielle Chanel was just a young girl in an orphanage, moonlighting as a cabaret singer. When a liaison with a wealthy heir allows her entrance into French society, she begins to develop her gift for designing while throwing out the restrictive trends that defined women’s fashion at the time.

Mercredi le 28 juillet – Wednesday, July 28

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma, 2019

On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the 18th century, Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride-to-be, and Marianne must paint her without her knowing. She observes her by day, to paint her secretly. The film tells the story of an affair between an aristocrat and a painter commissioned to paint her portrait.