Language Pupils Visit the British Film Institute


Recently our Sixth Formers studying French A Level visited to British Film Institute in London Southbank to attend a lecture on French cinema.

Led by Dr. Emily Salines, Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Learning from the University of Greenwich, this study day was an ideal introduction to prevalent themes in French cinema, and was structured in response to the new French A Level specifications.

The pupils were presented with prescribed films according to key social themes apparent in contemporary dramas yet partly influenced by the Nouvelle Vague. Conducted in French, the morning session introduced themes following the prescribed film texts of the new specifications dealing with present social issues while acknowledging the past. Truffaut’s seminal, 'Les 400 Coups' (1959) and Varda’s less well-known, 'Cleo de 5 à 7' (1962), was compared to contemporary films which present current social issues of class and ethnic divisions like 'Nakache and Toledano’s Intouchables' (2011), Kassovitz’s 'La Haine' (1995) and Cantet’s 'Entre les Murs' (2008).

Through exploring key scenes and applying textual analysis, our pupils were able to extend their vocabulary whilst improving their understanding of film language. In the afternoon, the screening of the movie 'Entre les Murs' by Laurent Cantet, left us intrigued and moved.

The trip turned out to be very enjoyable and informative. Upper Sixth pupil Alex Pearch said, “I found the lecture very educational, extremely challenging and the whole day was very interesting. The movie 'Entre les Murs' made me realise how different education can be from one country to another, but above all, it inspired me to explore further into French multicultural society, which I am currently studying in French A Level.”

This is my third trip to the BFI for this lecture, and each time, I learn something new, I come back with challenging thoughts on French culture. As a teacher, I think it simply vital for our pupils to be exposed to different learning material and to appreciate the fact that there are hundreds of other pupils who are embarking on this French A Level just like them, and also want to know more about French culture in general, just like them!


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