Reel Paris Class Experiences “City of Lights”

| July 18, 2012

Reel Paris class at the Grand Cafe on the Boulevard des Capucines with professors Kathy Corley, far right, and Vincent Jouane, 3rd from right. The cafe is near the original location where the first public screening of motion pictures were held by the Lumière brothers.

Imagine taking an eight-week online film class culminating in a week’s stay in Paris. That’s exactly what a group of  students in Webster’s Reel Paris hybrid online-field trip course did the week of June 17-23.

Up to that time, the class took place online through readings, screenings, discussion boards and writing assignments focusing on classic and contemporary French films as a means of exploring the history, culture and language of Paris. The last week field trip to Paris provided an opportunity for the class to visit landmarks and locales featured in the films.

Co-teaching the course were film/video professor Kathy Corley, and French professor Vincent Jouane. “The class was designed to be an engaging way to internationalize our curriculum in film studies for students of any major and to promote foreign language study,” said Corley.

Class member Larry Busk, a philosophy major, said: “Seeing Paris was a completely unique experience, especially for someone trying to learn French. Being immersed in the language is the best possible learning tool.”

Busk also liked the way the course was structured. “Traveling with guides helped alleviate how intimidating the city can be, and professors Corley and Jouane also didn’t hesitate to let us explore on our own. It was a very good balance.”

Film studies major Kaitlin Ellis said the entire class was an amazing experience. “I really enjoyed learning about French cinema, and then to actually experience the culture and places where the films were created was something I never thought I would be able to do, but Webster made it possible.

“To able to share this amazing trip with fellow Webster students from around the world makes taking this class truly the best decision that I have ever made.”

A highlight during the Paris week was attending a special event at the Forum ders Images — “Paris vu par Hollywood” (“Paris as seen by Hollywood”) with a lecture by celebrated filmmaker Stanley Donen, who directed the classic films “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Charade” and “Funny Face.”

“Donen’s talk about making movies in and around Paris was perfect for the class,” Corley said. “This was a really special highlight for the course.”

Reel Paris class walk through the Montmartre neighborhood where "Amelie" was filmed.

Alumna Cat Knell, center, was a guest speaker who discussed her work as a producer in the film industry in Paris and international film productions.

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” — Ernest Hemingway.

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