Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
History, Film and Memory: Representing World Wars in French cinema
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Oral presentation  20 Minutes  20%
Semester Assessment Essay 1  2000 Words  40%
Semester Assessment Creative assessment OR essay 2  2000 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1  2000 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Oral presentation  20 Minutes  20%
Supplementary Assessment Creative assessment OR essay 2  2000 Words  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Understand and interpret historical films, with an awareness of their social, historical and scientific context

Conduct research related to the films: primary texts and secondary literature; reading critically secondary literature

Show awareness of the historical and intellectual background of the conflicts and of the resulting films

Express themselves clearly both in speaking and in writing

Aural skills: precise understanding of the films discussed

Brief description

This module, taught in English, will approach the various cinematographic representations of World Wars and their aftermath within French cinema, with an emphasis on the links between national memory, historiography, and cinematographic production.

Through the study of world war films, the module will assess generally the questions of truth, authenticity and fiction within historical films; the possible functions of historical film in the shaping of a ‘national history’ (creating or challenging its defining narratives). Students will also assess the particularity of films in their contrast to texts on the same topics, such as the distinction of verbal, non-verbal, para-verbal and visual dimensions.


Films discussed include: ‘La grande illusion’ (Jean Renoir, 1937), ‘La victoire en chantant’ (Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1976), ‘Un long dimanche de fiançailles (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2004), ‘La grande vadrouille’ (Gérard Oury, 1966), ‘Un héros très discret’ (Jacques Audiard, 1996), ‘Indigènes’ (Rachid Bouchareb, 2006), ‘La rafle’ (Rose Bosch, 2010), ‘La traversée de Paris’ (Claude Autant-Lara, 1956), ‘Le Chagrin et la Pitié’ (Marcel Ophüls, 1969) and ‘Monsieur Batignole’ (Gérard Jugnot, 2002).

Week 1: Introduction: History and cinema: truth, verisimilitude, fiction.
Week 2-5: Films of the Great War. Films discussed include ‘La Grande illusion’, ‘La victore en chantant’ and ‘Un long dimanche de fiançailles’
Week 7-10: World War 2 films. Films discussed include ‘La grande vadrouille’, ‘Un héros très discret’ and ‘Indigènes’
Week 11 Closing discussion: war on film: a question for the past or the present

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Adaptability and resilience Ability to work independently; working towards research questions; working with relevant sources; increased awareness of cultural context, intercultural issues (eg. in discussion of war and colonization)
Creative Problem Solving Students will need to find relevant primary sources (eg. for the study of the reception of films) and secondary literature for the in-class discussions and for the assignments.
Critical and analytical thinking Students have to carry out research, facilitated by the convener, in preparation for their assessments, including identifying and localizing source texts and secondary literature.
Digital capability Online research, creation of individual presentation. Creation of digital materials can be part of the creative assessment.
Professional communication Development of clear and accurate communication in writing and in speaking, in English and in French
Reflection The assignments are based on independent research, with consultation possibilities with the module convener. The quality of independent thinking, and a critical engagement with secondary literature, will be assessed.
Subject Specific Skills Students have to do directed research in preparation for their assessments, including identifying and localizing source texts and secondary literature, in French as well as in English.


This module is at CQFW Level 5