Skip to main content

Unit information: Seeing, Hearing and Thinking the Cinema of Jean-Luc Godard in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Seeing, Hearing and Thinking the Cinema of Jean-Luc Godard
Unit code FREN30109
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Marianne Ailes
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of French
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will be taught by Albertine Fox

Jean-Luc Goddard is a major figure of modern French cinema. This unit explores his cinema and multimedia work via a plurality of perspectives, from his New Wave films in France to his experiments with video, his ‘return’ to mainstream art cinema, and his recent releases. Attention will be given to the importance of montage, documentary, silent film and Godard’s relationship to Hollywood, enabling students to develop a thorough understanding of Godard’s thought on cinema history and the practice of film criticism. Throughout the unit, emphasis will also be placed on the collaborative nature of Godard’s filmmaking practice. Each film will be situated in its larger historical, political and cultural-intellectual context, with discussions examining issues of gender and sexuality, the sound-image relation, aesthetics, spectatorship and reception.


  • To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to final year level and provide a detailed coverage of Godard’s cinema, including examples of his post-New Wave collaborative filmmaking projects and touching on his recent releases.
  • To enable students to develop a thorough understanding of the ways in which Godard’s filmmaking challenges the conventional codes of narrative cinema and traditional viewing practices.
  • To expose students to the political possibilities of cinema and its artistic and historical force as an expressive mode of thinking.
  • To enable students to develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level I.
  • To equip students with the skills to undertake postgraduate study in a relevant field.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. Advanced knowledge and understanding of Godard’s solo and collaborative filmmaking projects in relation to their historical, political and cultural contexts.
  2. Critical awareness of the theoretical issues raised by the study of Godard’s work and an appreciation of the diverse ways of sensing cinema.
  3. The ability to engage in close analysis of a scene as well as broader critical analysis of the themes of Godard’s films.
  4. Sophisticated understanding of the technical features of a sequence and its importance in relation to the film as a whole.
  5. The ability to undertake independent scholarly research and to draw on, analyse and assess relevant secondary material from a significant body of source materials in English and French at an advanced level.
  6. The ability to respond to tasks, questions or problems by presenting independent judgments in an appropriate written and oral style and at an advanced level of complexity and as appropriate to level H.

Teaching details

1 x Weekly Lecture

1x Weekly Seminar

Assessment Details


One 15-minute oral presentation, in small groups, testing ILOs 1-6 (25%).

One extended essay of 3,000 words, testing ILOs 1-6 (75%).


One sequence analysis, 1500 words, testing ILOs 1-4 and 6

Reading and References

  • Douglas Morrey, Jean- Luc Godard (Manchester University Press, 2005).
  • Michael Temple, James S. Williams and Michael Witt (eds), For Ever Godard (Black Dog Publishing, 2004).
  • Geneviève Sellier,Masculine Singular: French New Wave Cinema (Duke University Press, 2008).
  • Michael Temple and James S. Williams (eds), The Cinema Alone: Essays on the Work of Jean- Luc Godard 1985– 2000 (Amsterdam University Press, 2000).
  • Alain Bergala (ed.), Jean-Luc Godard par Jean-Luc Godard, vol. 1 & 2 (Cahiers du cinéma/ Éditions de l’ Étoile, 1985).
  • Michael Witt, Jean- Luc Godard, Cinema Historian (Indiana University Press, 2013).