Category Archives: Events and Competitions

French Film Competition (Now with added Spanish Flash Fiction Competition!)

gasoil

posted by Jenny Oliver and Jonathan Patterson

UPDATE: For details of the Oxford Spanish Department’s new ‘Flash Fiction’ competition, see below, after the French Film Competition.

The Department of French at Oxford University is looking for budding film enthusiasts in Years 7-11 and 12-13 to embrace the world of French cinema. To enter the competition, students in each age group are asked to re-write the ending of a film in no more than 1500 words.

You can work in English or French. No additional credit will be given for writing in French, but incorrect French grammatical expression will not be penalised: this is an exercise in creativity, rather than language!

The judges are looking for plausible yet imaginative new endings. There are no restrictions as to the form the entry might take: screen-play, play-script, prose, prose with illustrations. We’d also love to see filmed YouTube entries: feel free to experiment!

For 2017 we are inviting you to choose one film, either classic or contemporary, as per your age bracket:

Years 7-11:

Jean de Florette (1986, dir. Claude Berri) [PG]

OR

MicMacs à tire-larigot (2009, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet) [12A]
Years 12-13:

Paris nous appartient (1961, dir. Jacques Rivette)  [12]

OR

Microbe et Gasoil (2015, dir. Michel Gondry) [15]

 

To help you choose, here are the trailers.

For Jean de Florette:

For MicMacs:

For Microbe et Gasoil:

And, instead of a trailer, a scene from Paris nous appartient:

 

A first prize of £100 will be awarded to the winning student in each age group, with runner-up prizes of £25.

For further details about entering the competition (including the points in each film where we’d like you to take up the story), see the FAQs below. Each essay should be accompanied by a cover sheet.

Essays and cover sheets should be submitted by email to french.essay@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk by noon on 31st March 2017.

 

And now, a message from the Oxford Spanish department:

Spanish Flash Fiction Competition: NEW!!

Did you know that the shortest story in Spanish is only seven words long? Here it is: ‘Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí’ (Augusto Monterroso, “El dinosaurio”).

Write a story in Spanish of not more than 100 words, and send it to schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk by noon on Friday 31st March 2017 with your name, age and year group, and the name and address of your school.

A first prize of £100 will be awarded to the winning entry in each category (Years 7-11 and 12-13), with runner-up prizes of £25. The judges will be looking for creativity and imagination as well as good Spanish! The winning entries will be published on our website.

 

 

 

FAQS:

  1. What counts as ‘the ending’ of the film?

We’d like you to start your re-writing from the following points:

Paris nous appartient: from 1:52:55, when Philip asks Terry, ‘Pourquoi lui as-tu dit de venir?’

Jean de Florette: from 1:38:34, where Ugolin confronts Jean and says: ‘Monsieur Jean, il faut que je vous parle franchement…’

Micmacs from 1:16:44, when the message is relayed: ‘On lance!’, ‘On lance!,’ ‘On lance!’

Microbe et Gasoil from 1:29:23, when Microbe says ‘C’est possible de changer l’aller-retour contre deux allers, s’il vous plaît?’

  1. Does ‘re-writing’ mean I have to change everything?

There is nothing stopping you from watching the ‘real’ ending and then modifying it as you see fit. Indeed, you might find this helpful. Please note, though, that we’re looking for creative, entertaining and inventive new endings, which address as fully and plausibly as possible the strands of the story that are left unresolved at the end-points we’ve specified above.

  1. What form should the essay take?

There is no particular expectation as to how you submit your entry — you might like, for example, to submit it in screenplay format (with descriptions of camera angle, voice-over, lighting etc.), or as a play (with speech-prefixes and dialogue) or in prose, as in a novel. You might even like to submit your ‘new’ ending via YouTube or other social media! If so, email us the link with your attached coversheet. The form should be the one you feel shows your creativity in the best light.

  1. Where can I or my school/college get hold of the films?

The DVDs are readily and affordably available via Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk or http://www.amazon.fr). 

  1. Is there a limit to the amount of entries any one school can make?

Yes. There is a limit of 15 entries per school per age group.

  1. Should I enter as an individual or can I enter as part of a group?

We would ask you to keep to individually-named submissions, please: this is just to ensure as much as possible parity and fairness between entries, and to avoid any distinction between smaller and larger groups.

 

Top Teachers

OUITA

posted by Simon Kemp

A nice tradition in Oxford is our Inspirational Teacher Award, where current first-year Oxford undergraduates are asked to nominate teachers or careers advisers who inspired them to apply to Oxford, fostered their passion for a particular subject or supported them through the application process. The students asked to nominate teachers are all from UK state schools or colleges with a limited history and tradition of sending students to Oxford.

fis

This year, one of my own students at Somerville, Fis Noibi, who’s studying French and Arabic, nominated the head of sixth form at her old school, and he was selected as one of the winners.

Mr Course, from Robert Clack School in Dagenham, was named as one of 10 inspirational state school teachers from across Britain. In an interview with the Barking and Dagenham Post, Fis said Mr Course is ‘more than deserving of the award because, if not for him, I would not be doing my current course, let alone in this university. Mr Course is such an inspiration’

The winning teachers were honoured at an awards ceremony at St Peter’s College.  The award scheme, which was established six years ago, recognises the crucial role teachers and careers advisers play in encouraging talented students in their schools or colleges. Here are the teachers and students, with Fis and Mr Course four minutes in:

 

 

Film Competition Results

Bande_de_filles_photo-Estelle-Hanania-©-Lilies-Films

posted by Kate Rees

2016 marks the fifth year of Oxford University’s French film competition, in which school pupils are invited to watch a selected French film, and write an essay or script re-imagining the ending. As last year, the competition was open to students across secondary school year groups, with a large number of entrants from pupils in years 7 and 8. We received almost 200 entries, from over 50 schools.

 

The judges were deeply impressed by the range and richness of responses to the two set films, both directed by Céline Sciamma: Tomboy (years 7-11) and Bande de filles (years 12-13). The winner in the younger age category was Sophie Benbelaid, who came up with a startling and creative interpretation as to the young Laure’s decision to act as a boy. (An extract from Sophie’s entry is below.) Runners-up in this category were Nano Quirke-Bakradze and Nikolas Thatte. Kate Lopez Woodward and Bridgette Dancel were highly commended; six more students received commendations (Roxy Francombe, Jamie Sims, Rose Tingey, Rachel Dick, Megan Bradley, Neave Reilly).

 

When judging the older age category, we were so taken with the overall standard of the entries that we decided to offer prizes to joint winners. Read an extract from Gurdip Ahluwalia’s imaginative French-language script here. George Jeffreys wrote and directed a filmed ending to Bande de filles, reflecting the tensions and energy of Sciamma’s own cinematography. In this category, Amy Jorgensen and Jack Butler received high commendations; four more pupils received commendations (Elena Albot, Clare Borradaile, Lucy Morgan and Isabelle Smith).   

 

Rewritings of the end of Tomboy offered a rich tonal and emotional range, from the gentle and tender to the sudden and shocking. Laure was often seen as disturbed by uncertainty of her expression of her gender, running away and contemplating suicide; her mother too was often seen as angry and confused, and the mother’s pregnancy was seen to end traumatically in a number of entries. Other entries attempted to envisage a future for Laure in which she opted for gender realignment surgery. The strongest entries were those which captured something of the quiet intimacy of family life seen in Sciamma’s film, along with the childlike vision of the young Laure; various entries explored the relationship between the sisters in attentive and authentic ways.

 

In the older age category, there were some exceptional re-imaginings of the ending of Bande de filles. Many were written in French, and a number, too, opted to present their entries as a film script, imagining appropriate visual close-ups and musical insertions. Marieme/Vic was variously imagined accepting Abou’s offer, selling drugs, and sometimes being tempted into other criminal acts such as bank robbery; others opted for a more positive ending which saw her returning to study or coaching girls’ sports teams. As was the case with Tomboy, those entries which focused attention on the family relationships or on the interaction between the girls in the ‘bande’ tended to be particularly successful, introducing moments of tension, intimacy and credible dialogue.
The Medieval & Modern Languages Faculty congratulates all participants and expresses its gratitude to their teachers for supporting their entries. Particular thanks are offered to Routes into Languages for their generous support of the competition.

THE WINNERS

George Jeffreys:

Gurdip Ahluwalia (extract):

SCENE 5

[A L’EXTERIEUR DE LA MAISON]

[MARIEME PREND QUELQUE CHOSE DE SA POCHE. LA CAMERA REVELE QU’ELLE TIENT A LA MAIN UN TEST DE GROSSESSE. LE TEST EST POSITIF. ELLE SOUPIRE ET ESSUIE LES LARMES DE SES YEUX]

SCENE 6

[ON REVIENT CHEZ ISMAEL. IL LIT LA LETTRE, CONFUS ET INQUIET. ON ENTEND LA VOIX DE MARIEME, QUI LIT LA LETTRE]

LA VOIX DE MARIEME : Ismaël, Je sais que je viens de dire que je t’épouserais, mais j’y ai pensé. Cette proximité à Djibril, la réputation d’être une putain. Ces deux problèmes signifient que je ne peux pas rester ici. Je risque d’être bloquée ici, sans avenir, sans possibilité. Je ne veux pas cette vie pour mes sœurs. J’ai vu la vie de ma mère. Elle travaille sans arrêt, elle n’a pas de motivation, elle, même, a peur de son propre fils. Si je reste ici avec toi ma vie sera la même. Et mes sœurs et moi, nous avons le droit de quelque chose de meilleur. Je veux faire quelque chose avec ma vie, je veux être quelqu’un, je veux montrer à mes sœurs qu’elles peuvent être les femmes qu’elles veulent être. Je ne peux pas t’épouser dans de telles circonstances. Peut-être si les choses étaient différentes. Mais elles ne le sont pas. Après tout, je ne peux que dire que je suis désolée. Je t’aimerai toujours, mais il faut que je fasse ce qui est meilleur pour les filles.  Marième

[ISMAEL RESPIRE DE PLUS EN PLUS PENIBLEMENT, DEVENANT EN COLERE. IL DECHIRE LA LETTRE, EN PLEURANT. IL JETTE LES MORCEAUX DANS LA POUBELLE. IL Y A UN VASE SUR LA TELE. IL LE PREND AVEC VIOLENCE. LE VASE S’ECRASE CONTRE LE MUR]

 

SCENE 7

[A L’EXTERIEUR]

[MARIEME MET LE TEST DE GROSSESSE DANS LA POUBELLE. ELLE SOULEVE MINI ET LE SAC-A-DOS. ELLE PREND LA MAIN DE BEBE. SON PORTABLE SONNE. ON VOIT QUE C’EST LADY. APRES AVOIR ATTENDU QUELQUE MOMENTS ELLE SOUPIRE. MARIEME MET LE PORTABLE DANS LA POUBELLE AUSSI]

MARIEME (SOURIANT TRISTEMENT AUX FILLES) : Allons-y. Une nouvelle vie nous attend

FIN

Sophie Benbelaid (extract):

TOMBOY

 

“Lève-toi, tu dois t’habiller,”

Laure a respiré. Elle a entendu sa mère ouvre les rideaux. Fatigué, elle a tourné lentement sur son dos et a ouvert ses yeux – un œil et puis l’autre.

“Vite,” sa mère a dit encore, “va t’habiller.” Avec des pas chancelants, la jeune fille marchait à son armoire. Les portes étaient fermées.

“Pas là,”

Laure a fait demi-tour en entendant ces mots, “Quoi?” Laure a demandé avec une tonalité d’être encore demi-dormant.

“Tu t’habilleras dans cette robe,” et un vêtement en bleu était lancé sur les couverts du lit.  La mère regardait sa fille très intensément pour sa réaction mais Laure restait tranquille; elle pensait au son rêve de la nuit avant. Elle s’est assise et a vu la robe qui était affalée sur son lit. Ses yeux se sont élargisses en choc.

“Non,” elle a murmuré, “Non, non, non!” Laure criait encore et encore et a couru à la porte où sa mère l’a empêché de s’évader. Elle a tenu sa fille au lit et elle y a mis.

“Arrête, Laure!” La mère a hurlé à sa tortillant fille. “Ça suffit, Laure! Arrête!”

Laure a senti les mains de sa mère sur ses épaules. Elle a arrêté de se bouger, mais elle s’est cachée son visage dans l’oreiller.

“Ça suffit, Laure,” sa mère a dit encore. Cependant, elle a eu une plus douce voix, cette fois. Elle est restée immergé dans son oreiller, mais elle écoutait. “Tu ne peux plus mentir à tes amis. Ce n’est pas juste pour eux.” Laure a commencé de se tortiller encore. “Ça m’est égal si tu veux t’habiller comme un garçon…” elle a caressé la tête de sa fille, “mais ils ont le droit de savoir la vérité.”

“Je n’irai n’importe où!” Laure a crié de façon agressive, “Tu ne peux pas me forcer,” elle a marmonné. “Je n’y irai,” La mère a soupiré, mais est restée près de la porte de la chambre. “Laisse-moi d’aller seule,” Laure a dit.

“Avec la robe?”

“Non, mais laisse-moi rendre visite à mes amis,” Sa mère a tiqué et a adopté un visage d’incrédulité. “Non,”

“Pourquoi?”

“Si tu iras avec la robe, tu peux aller. Mais si non…” le reste n’a pas besoin d’être dit à voix haute.

Sa mère a soupiré tristement. “Écoute, Laure, je sais que tu veux faire…”

“Je ne comprends pas que tu dis,”

“Oh, tu sais,” la mère a commencé de caresser sa fille encore, “mais tu ne veux pas l’accepter la vérité”. Laure n’a rien dit. “Laure, tu peux t’habiller comme lui, mais il ne reviendra jamais.”

Laure a fermé ses yeux et a pressé les serrés.

“Je ne veux pas parler au sujet de ça,”

“Et quand, alors?”

“Jamais,”

“Jamais? Ça c’est absolument ridicule. Est-ce que tu n’as pas écouté ce que la thérapeute a dit? À un moment, tu as besoin de parler au les choses qui-ce passent.”

“Oui, à un moment – pas en ce moment!”

Le silence que s’est ensuivi avait tant de tension que ni la fille ni la mère a bougé.

Petit à petit, les défenses de Laure se sont effondrées et, bientôt, Laure était en larmes. La mère a marché à sa fille et l’étreignit longtemps.

“Mon bébé, pleure,” Laure a fait de l’hyperventilation contre la poitrine de sa mère, qui a caressé sa fille dans un rythme stable pour la calmer. Même si ses yeux étaient fermés, Laure encore voyait l’accident devant elle.

Tenir Bon

Tenir bon

This is the front page of today’s edition ofthe Belgian Newspaper, Le Soir. Tenir bon means ‘stand firm’, ‘hold on’ (or, very nearly, ‘keep calm and carry on’).

If you’d like to read a Belgian view on the attacks, here is a link to Le Soir‘s front-page editorial column (which is probably too small to read in the image above), entitled ‘Brussels Attacks: This Is Not The End, It’s The Beginning’.

 

Thinking about a degree at Oxford? Why not try us out for a week this summer?

1170e

posted by Simon Kemp

Would you like to spend a week with us this summer, living in an Oxford college, learning about a modern foreign language and its culture, and getting a taste of what it’s like to study here as a student? All entirely FREE of charge, food and accommodation included? (We’ll even pay for your train ticket to get here.)

If you’re currently in Year 12 of a state school, and have some free time in July this year, please do think about signing up for the course, or for one of the dozens of others on offer, including German, Spanish, or ‘beginner languages’ to give you a little experience of Russian, Portuguese and Italian languages and cultures. The French summer school runs from 2-8 July this year, the German summer school and the Beginner Languages school both run from 16-22 July, and  Spanish is 23-29 July.

Here are the details of the French week:

This UNIQ course is a chance to immerse yourself in the literature, theatre, poetry, film and linguistics of the French language.You will spend daily sessions at the Language Centre practising and improving your existing language skills, followed by fascinating lectures and seminars, and the chance to use the world famous Taylorian and Bodleian libraries for private study. 

Our aim is to give you a taste of what it is really like to read French at Oxford, and to give you a sense of the unrivalled breadth of our course. Throughout the week, you will have the opportunity to hone your language skills and consolidate your knowledge of French grammar. You will also participate in classes introducing you to an exciting array of topics, ranging from Linguistics and 17th-century tragedy to French-language cinema and 19th-century poetry.

You will be expected to do some preparatory reading before the course so that you can make the most of the week you spend here: we’ve chosen Annie Ernaux’s 20th-century classic autobiographical text La place.  We will post a copy of the book to all successful participants in early June. Following a lecture that will explore some of the key themes and contexts surrounding Ernaux’s book, you will have the chance to test out (and flesh out) your ideas in a seminar. On the Friday, you will even experience an Oxford-style tutorial, in which you and three other students get to discuss your close reading of a poem with a specialist.

Student Experiences

“I really enjoyed the intimacy of the Alumni Dinner. Also, I enjoyed the morning grammar classes and the 17th Century French Theatre lecture as I was not expecting to enjoy it but really loved it!”

“The mentors were really friendly and easy to relate to, and the tutors were not as scary as I had thought they would be! It was a real adventure and one I wouldn’t hesitate to do again.”

You can find details of all the courses on offer here, along with information about how to sign up. The deadline for applications is February 3rd, so you don’t have long to think about it, I’m afraid. We hope to see you in July!

Tolerance: Beacon of the Enlightenment

posted by Caroline Warman

You might have seen that in the vigils and marches that followed the Charlie Hebdo assassinations on 7 January 2015, posters of Voltaire like this one appeared everywhere, along with some of his polemical slogans about the importance of religious tolerance.

voltaire

Dozens of university lecturers in France who teach Voltaire and other eighteenth-century writers, and who were all as distressed by the events and by the increasingly polarised politics that followed as anyone else, decided to put together an anthology of texts from the Enlightenment. This anthology would make available to everyone what writers of the time said about liberty, equality, and fraternity, about the importance of religious tolerance, about the rights of women, about the abomination of slavery, about the exploitation created by a system of global capitalism, and so on. It would contain the original text of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, enshrined in the French Constitution since 1789, and it would also contain the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen drawn up by Olympe de Gouges, which was roundly rejected in an atmosphere of general hilarity. Some of the extracts would be witty, some would be serious or even tragic, some might even seem objectionable to us now, but all would be arguing their point with great passion, and the collection as a whole would shine a light onto a world and a century which have many more connections with us than we would ever have thought. This anthology, entitled Tolérance: le combat des Lumières, was published in April 2015 by the Société française d’étude du dix-huitième siècle.

 

We in the UK wanted to support and applaud this initiative, and we wanted to extend its readership. So we decided to translate it. And we thought, who better to translate this texts than our students? They are the citizens, female and male, of today and tomorrow, they are deeply engaged in our world, and they are brilliant at languages.

 

At Oxford we do a lot of translation anyway – we translate about half a page of French into English, and the other way round, every week.  We do that because it develops our language skills immensely – it challenges us to be linguistically inventive while never letting us off the hook in terms of grammatical accuracy and syntactical fluency. It is quite hard, but we love it, not least because we all do it together in college classes. You’d never believe how many different ways of translating a single sentence there are. Translation is also a particularly intense way of reading, because to translate something you really have to get inside the text. It’s incredibly stimulating, because you’re both reading and writing at the same time.

 

So, one hundred and two of us – tutors and their second-year students (who don’t have any exams) from lots of different colleges – translated the anthology this past summer term. And we published it on 7 January 2016, the first anniversary of the shootings. We launched it at the annual conference of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, which supported the project, and it has received some nice coverage in the press and online. On the first day it was downloaded more than 4000 times. We were amazed!

 

So here it is, free to download. Every single text has a link to the original French, sometimes in the original eighteenth-century edition. Have a look! Because if there’s one audience we really want to reach, it’s you! You are our future, and our future needs open-minded thinkers, and it needs linguists. Go for it!

TOLERANCE: BEACON OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT

French Film Competition 2016!

Bande_de_filles_photo-Estelle-Hanania-©-Lilies-Filmsposted by Kate Rees

As in recent years, the Oxford University Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages is organising a French Film Competition, run with the help and generosity of Routes into Languages (South).

The competition has been a successful and entertaining way of getting young people interested in France and French culture, and has attracted hundreds of entries over the last few years. The challenge is to re-write the ending of a film in no more than 1500 words. It is open to all students of secondary-school age, from years 7-13. We’re also very keen to encourage filmed entries via Youtube submissions, so please feel free to re-imagine the endings of the chosen films in as creative a way as you can.

This year we have chosen two films directed by Céline Sciamma, an up and coming French director. Pupils in years 7-11 are invited to re-write the ending of Tomboy (2011), which sees a young girl moving to a new Parisian neighbourhood and exploring her own identity.

 

Those in years 12-13 are encouraged to look at Sciamma’s most recent film, Bande de filles (2014), which depicts the life of a group of young black girls coming of age in the suburbs of Paris. Raising issues of gender, race and class, this is also a film about friendship and conflict.

 

We very much enjoy judging the competition and are always impressed by the imagination and wit of the submissions. Entries should be submitted by email to french.essay@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk by noon on 31st March 2016.

A first prize of £100 will be awarded to the winning student in each category, with runner-up prizes of £25. For further details about entering the competition (including the points in each film where we’d like you to take up the story), please see the questions below, and go to http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/film_comp to find the link to the cover sheet for your entry.

We’re looking forward to reading your work!

  1. What counts as ‘the ending’ of the film?

We’d like you to start your re-writing from the following points:
Tomboy: from 1:06:03, when Laure’s mother says “Lève-toi tu dois t’habiller”

Bande de filles: from 1:16:59, when Marieme/Vic says ‘J’ai un plan’ to her friends.

 

  1. Does ‘re-writing’ mean I have to change everything?

There is nothing stopping you from watching the ‘real’ ending and then modifying it as you see fit. Indeed, you might find this helpful. Please note, though, that we’re looking for creative, entertaining and inventive new endings, which address as fully and plausibly as possible the strands of the story that are left unresolved at the end-points we’ve specified above.

 

  1. What form should the essay take?

There is no particular expectation as to how you submit your entry – you might like, for example, to submit it in screenplay format (with descriptions of camera angle, voice-over, lighting etc.), or as a play (with speech-prefixes and dialogue) or in prose, as in a novel. You might even like to submit your ‘new’ ending via YouTube or other social media..! If so, email us the link with your attached coversheet. The form should be the one you feel shows your creativity in the best light.

 

  1. Where can I or my school/college get hold of the films?

The DVDs are readily and affordably available via Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk or http://www.amazon.fr).

 

  1. Is there a limit to the amount of entries any one school can make?

Yes. There is a limit of 15 entries per school per age group.

 

  1. Should I enter as an individual or can I enter as part of a group?

We would ask you to keep to individually-named submissions, please: this is just to ensure as much as possible parity and fairness between entries, and to avoid any distinction between smaller and larger groups.

French Film Essay Competition 2015

 

bienvenue chez les ch'tis_2(1)

posted by Will McKenzie and Kate Rees

A feast of narrative imagination and directorial invention!The University of Oxford’s fourth French film essay competition was once more opened up to younger students (from year 7 onwards) and offered entrants the chance to write, direct and submit their own mini-film. An amazing total of 178 entries were received, from almost 50 schools.

The judges were deeply impressed by the range and richness of responses to the four set films: Le Petit Nicolas and Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (years 7-11) and Dans la maison and De Rouille et d’os (years 12-13)Entrants re-wrote the closing chapter, picking up narrative threads left hanging by each film’s ambiguous ending. So rich were the responses that, in addition to the winner and runner-up in each category, a selection of further entries were offered special and higher commendations. The winners in each age group were Joe Beadle (Years 7-11) and Jessica Binks (Years 12-13). The winners in the new ‘Film’ category were Class 7H of Bartholomew School. Further details are available at:

http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/film_comp_2015_results .

Below are brief reports from the judges about the entries for each film.

Le Petit Nicolas

Rewritings (and filmed versions) of the end of Petit Nicolas offered a rich tonal and emotional range, from the gentle and tender – where the united family lives happily ever after – to the sudden and shocking – where the jealous Nicolas takes sibling rivalry to its murderous limit. The strongest entries gave emotional depth and richness to each of the wide cast of characters, including Nicolas’s friends and family, while retaining the rapid, quick-witted patter of the original. The judges were impressed throughout by the close attention entrants gave to all these aspects of the film, and by the sheer energy and enthusiasm invested in all the entries.

Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis

There was a pleasingly large number of responses to this very successful French movie. The vanished wife gave entrants scope to take the film in all kinds of unexpected directions; an opportunity they eagerly seized. Some movingly melancholic, even tragic, entries impressed the judges enormously in their emotional maturity. Others retained the sweetly joyous tone of the original. Scottish entries often made wittily knowing allusions to the “North” of the Ch’tis as wet, cold but ultimately welcoming. While entrants’ level of French was not taken into account when deciding the winners, the judges often noted in passing an encouragingly good grasp of the language.

 Dans la maison

Our older entrants responded very well to this film, which deals expressly with the problem of writing the ending of a story. There were twists and turns as inventive as those of the film itself, and some sensitive responses to the original film’s cold, tense tone and analysis of status anxiety, snobbism and sexual jealousy. There were some gripping retellings in English and in French, strengthened by subtle, incisive description, good narrative pacing and intelligent plotting, where just enough information was released at just the right time to keep the reader guessing.
De rouille et d’os

While relatively few entrants wrote on this film, the entries we did receive were extremely accomplished. Entries here were characterized by their tendency to formal experimentation: there were more rewritings in verse for this film than the others, in English and in French. The judges were impressed especially by entrants’ ability to express themselves well given the constraints of versification, often awarding Special Commendations in recognition of this.

Another competition is planned for next year. We hope you’ll consider entering.

Open Days in 2015

taylor
The Taylor Institute Library, where you get to study when you’re a student here.

 posted by Simon Kemp

If you’re considering applying to study at Oxford, then the best way to check us out is to come to one of our open days. The Modern Languages Faculty holds four open days in the course of the year, in which you can see some of our facilities, hear about all the courses we have available and ask questions of the tutors and current undergraduates.

Due to pressure of numbers, all the open days need to be booked for, which you can do online. The May 2nd day is our largest event, and usually gets fully booked, so it’s worth getting tickets early. The other three days, on July 1st and 2nd and September 18th, are smaller scale, but have the advantage of coinciding with the general university open day, for which all the colleges of the university open their doors for you to wander around the grounds and meet the tutors. (You don’t need to book in for college visits.)

Here’s our schedule for this year:

 

Open Days schedule and bookings

Open Day Date Programme Bookings Contact
Main Faculty Undergraduate Open Day 2nd May 2015 Programme Book a place | Amend a booking | Cancel a booking Nicola Gard
*Faculty Undergraduate Open Day 1st & 2nd July 2015 Registration will open in the next few months Nicola Gard
*Faculty Undergraduate Open Day 18th September 2015 Registration will open in the next few months Nicola Gard

After booking, you will receive a ticket via email. If you do not receive your ticket within 24 hours, please check the spam folder in your email system and, if it is not there, contact it-support@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.

Due to restricted places on our Open Days and the sheer volume of students wishing to attend, if after booking a place you are then unable to attend, please do cancel your place using the ‘cancel’ option(s) above, or email the relevant contact above to cancel your place for you.

Further Information

The Modern Languages prospectus for undergraduates is available by clicking here

A general prospectus for undergraduates is available by clicking here

Further information from Undergraduate Admissions is available by clicking here

Further details on our Open Days can be found by clicking here.

We hope to see you there.

Be an Oxford Student for a week this summer (for free!)

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posted by Simon Kemp

Would you like to spend a week with us this summer, living in an Oxford college, learning about French language and culture, and getting a taste of what it’s like to study here as a student? All entirely FREE of charge, food and accommodation included? (We’ll even pay for your train ticket to get here.)

If you’re currently in Year 12 of a state school studying French, and have nothing better to do from the 4th to the 10th July this year, please do think about signing up for the course, or for one of the dozens of others on offer, including German, Spanish, or ‘beginner languages’ to give you a little experience of Russian, Portuguese and Italian languages and cultures. (Note that different courses run on different weeks through the summer.)

Here are the details of the French week:

This UNIQ course is a chance to immerse yourself in the literature, theatre, poetry, film and linguistics of the French language.You will spend daily sessions at the Language Centre practising and improving your existing language skills, followed by fascinating lectures and seminars, and the chance to use the world famous Taylorian and Bodleian libraries for private study. 

Our aim is to give you a taste of what it is really like to read French at Oxford, and to give you a sense of the unrivalled breadth of our course. Throughout the week, you will have the opportunity to hone your language skills and consolidate your knowledge of French grammar. You will also participate in classes introducing you to an exciting array of topics, ranging from Linguistics and 17th-century tragedy to French-language cinema and 19th-century poetry.

You will be expected to do some preparatory reading before the course so that you can make the most of the week you spend here: we’ve chosen Annie Ernaux’s 20th-century classic autobiographical text La place.  We will post a copy of the book to all successful participants in early June. Following a lecture that will explore some of the key themes and contexts surrounding Ernaux’s book, you will have the chance to test out (and flesh out) your ideas in a seminar. On the Friday, you will even experience an Oxford-style tutorial, in which you and three other students get to discuss your close reading of a poem with a specialist.

Student Experiences

“I really enjoyed the intimacy of the Alumni Dinner. Also, I enjoyed the morning grammar classes and the 17th Century French Theatre lecture as I was not expecting to enjoy it but really loved it!”

“The mentors were really friendly and easy to relate to, and the tutors were not as scary as I had thought they would be! It was a real adventure and one I wouldn’t hesitate to do again.”

You can find details of all the courses on offer here, along with information about how to sign up. The deadline for applications is February 12th, so you don’t have long to think about it, I’m afraid. We hope to see you in July!