Category Archives: Events and Competitions

Film Competition Results!

posted by Kate Rees and Will McKenzie

This year, the University of Oxford’s third French film essay competition was also opened up to younger students (from year 7 onwards) and even offered entrants the chance to write, direct and submit their own mini-film via YouTube. An amazing total of 222 entries were received, from across 42 schools.

The judges were deeply impressed by the range and richness of responses to the two set films: Le Hérisson (years 7-11) and L’Auberge EspagnoleEntrants 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 commendation.

The winners in each age group were India Gaer, Marlborough College (Years 7-11) and Eleanor Palmer, St George’s Weybridge (Years 12-13).

The rewritings of the ending of Le Hérisson often proved dramatic, in keeping with the shock ending of the film itself: fire destroyed the apartment block in a number of entries. In many cases, Paloma went on to fulfil her plan to commit suicide while Renée and Kakuro were left to grieve; some saw her taking the pills but waking up in hospital reunited with her family. Others saw her opting instead to find her way out of her goldfish bowl by destroying her parents and sister in various imaginative ways. In certain versions, Kakuro Ozu was seen as a potential murderer whose relationship with Renée was more threatening to her than any laundry truck. Those who preferred a happier ending often chose to install Paloma as the adopted daughter of Renée and Kakuro, in some cases sending the trio to Japan to enjoy their future together.  Entrants also opted to recount events through the eyes of different characters, sometimes switching between the perspectives of Paloma and Renée, or opting for the viewpoint of a more minor character such as Paloma’s sister Colombe. Several entries incorporated creative references to Tolstoy, in keeping with the film’s references to the epigraph to Anna Karenina; a number picked up on the metaphor of the goldfish bowl.

Dramatic endings were also dealt out to characters in Barcelona in L’Auberge espagnole, with Xavier rushed to hospital following a car accident in several scripts, perhaps to be met by Jean-Michel refusing to treat him. Entrants variously decided to send Xavier back to Paris, and reunite him with Martine; or have him settle down with Anne-Sophie in Spain. Others focused on recreating dialogue between the flatmates; the character of Will proved popular, with a number of entrants choosing to incorporate him in a series of lively exchanges. Certain motifs of the film, such as the overflowing shared fridge or the shots of the aeroplane featuring Xavier’s voiceover were picked up and explored further. Some enjoyed reflecting the mix of languages reflected in the film; others proved creative in the attention given to music and visuals in their rewritten endings.

The judges and co-organisers of the competition are very grateful for the support and assistance of Routes into Languages and the Robert Taylor Society, and look forward to an equally creative response to the films next year.

Open Days

posted by Simon Kemp

It was lovely to meet those blog readers who came along to the Modern Languages Faculty Open Day on Saturday, which we held in the university’s swish new Radcliffe Observatory Quarter. The day was fully booked, and everyone seemed to have come armed with all kinds of challenging questions to test my detailed knowledge of how the university’s courses and admissions process work. I think it went very well, at least after someone pointed out to me that I was trying to talk into the reading light on the lectern in the brand-new lecture theatre rather than the microphone, and I hope those who were there found it a useful experience. Our brilliant undergraduate volunteers were also there to help, and obviously did a much better than people like me at telling prospective applicants what it’s Really Like to apply here, go through the interview process, and study on the course. One of those volunteers, Jessica Allen, will be offering her further thoughts on the transition from sixth-former to undergraduate in next week’s post.

The Modern Languages Faculty at Oxford runs three more open days this summer, on 2nd and 3rd July, and 19th September. Do think about coming to see us, if you’re at all interested in applying to study here in the future. You can book your place for the modern languages events here. Plus, the colleges and other sites of the university will be open for visitors (for which you won’t need to book). I hope to see some of you there.

Come and spend a week with us this summer!

To all Y12 students….

If you have several As or A*s at GCSE and are now studying for your A levels you should have a good look at the UNIQ summer school.  It’s completely free of charge, it’s open to all UK state school/college students in Year 12, and it’s your chance to see what Oxford is really like.

Next summer 1000 students will attend the summer school for one week.  Targeted at students who are self-motivated and working above the average for their school, it aims to provide students with a realistic view of Oxford; of the teaching, the facilities and the people.

UNIQ is a programme of free summer schools held at Oxford University.  Students live in an Oxford college, attending lectures, seminars and tutorials.  The aim is to give academically able students the opportunity to see if Oxford is for them.  Would I fit in?  Am I clever enough? Would I enjoy it? These are all questions that, by the end of the week, students will be able to answer for themselves.

The French course runs from July 12th to 18th, and is designed to offer you a taste of studying 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.

Other week-long courses on offer include German and Spanish, plus one on Beginner Languages offering a taste of what it might be like to study Italian, Russian or Portuguese from scratch. There are also courses in Middle Eastern languages, and on many other subjects in the arts, humanities and sciences.

The course will give you a boost in your sixth-form studies, and provide you with a great introduction to university life. Come and spend a week with us, for free, and find out what we’re all about.

Online applications for the UNIQ summer school are now open. They close on 24 February at 5pm, so please don’t delay.

Further information and access to the online application form is available here.

Our team are happy to answer any additional questions you may have.  You can email them at uniq@admin.ox.ac.uk

Posted by Simon Kemp

French Film Competition

auberge

As in the previous few 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 and the Sir Robert Taylor Society.

The Competition has been a really successful and fun way of getting young people interested in France and French culture. And this year we have opened it up to younger students: all UK students of secondary-school age – from years 7 to 13 – can take part. The challenge of the competition is to re-write the ending of a film in no more than 1500 words.

The films for this year –  Le Hérisson (The Hedgehog) directed by Mona Achache (2009, for Years 7-11) and L’Auberge Espagnole (Pot Luck), directed by Cédric Klapisch (2002, for years 12-13) have been chosen because they talk about reaching out to strange or foreign people. The first film sees a young girl forming an unlikely friendship with a prickly, hedgehog-like caretaker; in the second, a young Frenchman flatshares with eccentric students from different countries on his Erasmus Year Abroad – a situation many language undergraduates have to deal with!

Judging the competition is often a lot of fun and we are always impressed by the imagination and wit of the entries. There are no restrictions as to the form the entry might take: screen-play, play-script, prose, prose with illustrations… and this year, you can even upload a YouTube video or audio file! Entries should be submitted by email to french.essay@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk by noon on Monday 31 March 2014.

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), please see the link below, which offers more details about how to enter. It’s great fun and an excellent exercise in creativity! So please do enter!

http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/film_comp_2014

posted by Will McKenzie