UB   FR 341 Fall 2017

French Film

 Topic this Fall:   "Remakes: French Films / American Masks" / "Reprises:  Films Français/Masques Américains"


The purpose of this course is to analyze contemporary French films . After a brief history of French cinema the goal of the course will be to understand  how a foreign culture represents its own attitude, language and cultural dispositions in a given situation. The course will lead to a better understanding of the French film industry and its adaptation to specifically pre­determined cultural patterns. Because this course can be repeated, each semester that it is offered its theme and films change. This Fall 2017 semester the topic is "Remakes / Reprises" and it explores international cross cultural patterns in cinematic fiction. 

What do True Lies, Point of no Return, Twelve Monkeys, The BirdcageThe Apartment, Breathless, Dinner for Schmucks, Beauty and the Beast, etc. have in common? They all are American remakes of earlier French films. Why do Hollywood have to rewrite European films to market a perfectly good story to adapt it to American taste? The purpose of this course is to analyze specific contemporary French films and their American adaptation in English for an American (International) audience. The purpose of the analysis is to study the differences in representations and in mentalities. Beyond intra­nationalistic references that would not be understood in another foreign culture, we will explore cross-cultural inquiry and study how different cultures (French and American) select to represent their own attitudes, language and cultural dispositions in given situations. We will also study the general framework of the film representation and what distinguishes a "French" and an "American" film. The course will lead to a better knowledge of contemporary French cinema and an understanding of specifically pre­determined cultural patterns. The course will include in-depth studies of several French clasical films  La Jetée/ 12 Monkeys;  A bout de souffle / Breathless; La Cage aux folles / The Birdcage; d Diner de Cons / Dinner for Schmucks, but at the end of the semester we wil focus on the strange case of Beauty and the Beast. Originally it was a weird and transgressive tale written for the selective French King's Court elite by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. It was then rewritten as a children tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (1756) with many of the original scabrous anecdotes removed. The succession of French original films (1946, 2014) and their American counterparts (1991, 2002, 2017) seem to reinforce the original binary opposition of the two original XVIIth-Century written versions.

We will watch and study 6 French original movies. As usual, we will start with a few classics mostly taken from the list of a French well-known repertoire,  then move on to more contemporary directors and more contemporary social, political and cultural settings. (In English - Mandatory presence in each class.)  



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