French Cinema and the Two World Wars

Please note that this seminar will be conducted in French. Even more than other European countries, modern France was shaped by its experience of the twentieth century's two world wars. Referencing a number of films (a new and soon dominant medium of cultural expression and communication), participants will look not so much at the violence of war, but at how the two wars a) changed French society and b) affected and changed human relationships, among men, between men and women, among women and children. In particular, participants will look at how film met the challenge of representing the German occupation (1940-44) and the traumatic issues of resistance and collaboration. As these painful issues are far from resolved, they still fuel what Henry Rousso has memorably called the "Vichy Syndrome", still very evident in France today.