One cannot underestimate the importance of cinema in contemporary French culture. From the Frères Lumière, the earliest filmmakers in world history, to Jean Dujardin who won the Oscar for “Best Actor” in 2012 for his portrayal in the film The Artist, to the German/Austrian/French co-production of Amour that earned the 2013 Oscar for “Best Foreign Language Film,” the French have played an important role throughout the history of world cinema. In France, film is often called “le septième art,” and although French films certainly earn millions of Euros at the national box office, their function an art form remains of primary importance.
In Fall 2013, Dr. Richard Gray, incoming assistant professor of French, will offer the FREN357 course (Conversational French) with the theme of French cinema in mind. Using Anne-Christine Rice’s text entitled French Cinema for Conversation: Le cinéma en cours de français (4th edition), students will apply concepts learned in prior language courses as they work to develop conversational fluency in French. This course promises to engage the student both linguistically and culturally as it takes students on a voyage through a variety of film genres representing the diverse cultures of the French and Francophone world.
Dr. Gray brings to this course both a passion for cinema and a research profile in media studies. He has taught film courses including “From Pen to Silver Screen: Writing/Filming France” and “Cinéma francophone.” Gray is editor of The Performance Identities of Lady Gaga: Critical Essays (2012) and co-editor (with Betty Kaklamanidou) of Film and Television Superheroes in the New Millennium: Politics, Gender and Genre (2011). His forthcoming publication is entitled “Sexual Politics: Mapping the Body in Marguerite Duras’s L’Amant” (2014) that includes a discussion of the filmic representation of Duras’s postcolonial novel.