This course follows a Lecture/Recitation format.
The Lecture (CIMS / FREN 386 401) is taught in English.
For French credit: Please register for both FREN 386 401 (lecture) and FREN 386 402 (recitation). FREN 386 402 recitation is conducted in French.
For Cinema and Media Studies credit: Please register for CIMS 386 401 (lecture) and CIMS 386 403 (recitation). Both lecture and recitation are taught in English.
Latter-day examples like Christophe Honoré’s Dans Paris, Cédric Klapisch’s Paris or the international omnibus Paris, je t’aime (with each director paying homage to a distinctive “arrondissement” of the capital), not to mention American blockbusters like The Da Vinci Code and Inception or Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, are there to remind us that there is something special – indeed, a special kind of magic – about Paris in and on film. Despite the extreme polarization between Paris and provincial France in both cultural and socio-economic terms, cultural historians have argued that Paris is a symbol of France (as a centralized nation), more than Rome is of Italy and much more than Madrid is of Spain or Berlin of Germany, for example. The prevalence of the City of Lights on our screens, Gallic and otherwise, should therefore come as no surprise, be it as a mere backdrop or as a character in its own right. But how exactly are the French capital and its variegated people captured on celluloid? Can we find significant differences between French and non-French approaches, or between films shot on location that have the ring of “authenticity” and studio-bound productions using reconstructed sets? Do these representations vary through time and perhaps reflect specific historical periods or zeitgeists? Do they conform to genre-based formulas and perpetuate age-old stereotypes, or do they provide new, original insights while revisiting cinematic conventions? Do some (sub)urban areas and/or segments of the Parisian population (in terms of gender, race or class, for example) receive special attention or treatment? These are some of the many questions that we will seek to address… with a view to offering the next best thing to catching the next non-stop flight to Paris!