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FLM 147 — Exploring French New Wave Cinema

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Jul 24—Aug 21
Time: 6:30—8:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jul 26
Unit: 1
Tuition: $290
Instructor(s): Ericka Knudson
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—8:20 pm (PT)
Jul 24—Aug 21
5 weeks
Refund Date
Jul 26
1 Unit
Ericka Knudson
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
“What is your greatest ambition in life?” asks Jean Seberg’s character in Breathless. “To become immortal, and then die,” the celebrated author replies. This famous exchange from Jean-Luc Godard’s iconic film resonates more than ever with the destiny of the French New Wave. More than 60 years after its birth, the legendary cinematic movement has indeed become immortal just as its last icons have begun to disappear: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, and Agnès Varda, among others. Through themes of love, death, pleasure, and tragedy, these films allow us to examine core components in our lives that remain as relevant for us today as they were in French society of the 1960s. We will explore emblematic films by New Wave directors, such as Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol, and Rivette, as well as a few of their lesser-known treasures. Through discussions on each week’s film, we will engage in debates on topics such as the nuances of love, representations of gender, the notion of the auteur, autobiography, aesthetics, and literary influences. You will develop skills in film analysis, learning to identify elements of mise en scène, while exploring interpretation of film narratives and more general social issues in French society at the time.

All films can be rented or streamed instantly through the Criterion Channel, Amazon Prime, or other online platforms.

Independent Scholar

Ericka Knudson has taught courses on French film, media, and New Wave cinema at Harvard, published articles on cinema and literature, and co-authored Cultivating Creativity through World Films. She received the Certificate of Distinction and Excellence from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning multiple times. Knudson received a PhD in film studies from the University of Paris.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.