115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Women in/on Film

Aaron Prevots, Southwestern University

This short presentation will share ideas for teaching French and francophone movies. The handout and talk will feature essentials from the planned Spring 2018 undergraduate course Women in/on Film, for intermediate to advanced learners: an abridged syllabus with film selections, teaching strategies, activity ideas, and an annotated bibliography.

Proposal: 

This short presentation will share ideas for teaching French and francophone movies. The handout and talk will feature essentials from the planned Spring 2018 undergraduate course “Women in/on Film,” for intermediate to advanced learners: an abridged syllabus with film selections, teaching strategies, activity ideas, and an annotated bibliography. The context is a curricular redesign that meets the needs of French minors while cross-listing with a Feminist Studies program. I will emphasize teaching French film through feminist methodologies as well as cinematography, and will also address francophone film. Because “Women in/on Film” complements my survey course “French Cinema,” which uses Aldstadt and Hippolyte’s Septième Art, the presentation will combine ideas and strategies from these two 300-level courses. I do NOT expect to require A/V equipment, since discussion is a priority, but will gather trailer links for sharing as needed. Building on the handout, I will introduce the syllabus, its strategies, movie stills, and methodological and historical sources regarding film analysis and women in/on film (books in French and in English). Highlights include: 1. Organizing principles of the course (a chronological focus, plus units on film genres and on categories of difference); 2. Empowerment and its obstacles in works since 1960, along with gender, race, and ethnicity in mainstream films of the 2000s; 3. Basics on the language of film that have proven valuable in class, with related activity ideas; 4. Content and resource suggestions for similar courses; 5. Concluding comments regarding film as both students’ lingua franca and an expression of shifts in contemporary culture. Course Description: Women in French film history 1900-present. Emphasis on valuing seminal filmmakers, actors, and directors of photography, grasping how gender representations evolve, and analyzing film as the seventh art. We will consider the 1920s and 1960s while highlighting the 2000s; explore innovations including those of Germaine Dulac, Agnès Varda, and Chantal Akerman; and unpack onscreen portrayals of empowered, disempowered, and liminal figures in relation to film genres (avant-garde, Nouvelle Vague, musicals, literary adaptations, romcoms, dramas, documentaries). We will focus on class, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and sexuality as categories of difference, while also exploring the power of filmic images.