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Michigan State University

French Film: Film Dictionaries

This is a guide to finding French films available in the M.S.U. Libraries. Last updated 06-05-2023

Film Dictionaries

Below find numerous dictionaries and other reference works about people and topics relative to French film and cinema.

Oxford Bibliographies Online

Upon entry into this database, choose advanced search, top right.  As full text searches enter (france or french) and (cinema or media or film or movie or movies).  At the bottom of screen click on the category Cinema and Media Studies.  Browse through results.

Encyclopedie du Film Policier Francais  Main PN 1995.9 .D4 B75 2020

Covers 1910-2020.  600 pages.  Entries for 888 films.  1250 photos and images of film posters, in color.  Indexed by film name, but arranged chronologically, by year.  Entries provide names of producers, directors, etc., actors/actresses, a paragraph length annotation about the content, where shown and when. 

Dictionnaire du Jeune Cinema Francais, des Annees 2000 a Nos Jours   Main PN 193.5 .F8 P75 2017

Alphabetical biographical directory of young film producers by an emeritus professor of cinematic studies and film critic. 

Directory of World Cinema: France  Main PN 1993.5 .F8 F73 2013

Addresses the great directors and key artistic movements.  Essays explore stylistic elements, cultural contexts, and various conceptions of cinema in France.  Chapters on documentaries and realism, women film-makers, avant-garde, the New Wave, comedy, horror, etc.  Recommended readings.  Comprehensive filmography.

Dictionnaire Passionné du Cinéma. Main PN 1993.45 .D36 2013

Entries for 6,000 films, described in French, to see or to avoid seeing, produced in countries all over the world.  More are French, Western European, British, or American.  Entries are a long paragraph.  Gives date and place of production, number of minutes, whether in color.  Ratings, with stars. Author is a prominent French journalist and film critic.

Dictionnaire du Cinema Fantastique et de Science-Fiction.  Main PN 1995.9 .S26 L34 2014

Entries for topics, film titles, actors, directors, themes, processes.  Some info on DVD availability.

Dictionnaire du Cinema Populaire Francaise.   Mn PN 1998.2 .D53 2009

Entries for topics, persons, film titles, movie theaters.  Many illustrations, in color.  Signed entries.  Appendices: the 100 French films garnering the most viewers and top 100 French films most shown on television.

Dictionnaire de la Nouvelle Vague Main PN 1993.5 .F7 S533 2013

Paragraph length to a page long biographical entries in French describing comedians, producers, actors, actresses, script writers, directors, and other movie personnel active in Nouvelle Vague, the French New Wave cinema of the 1950s and 1960s.  Includes also entries on some figures prominent in cinema in North America and in other Western European countries.  There are a very few topical entries and a few entries for film titles.

Cinéma du Désir Dictionnaire  Main PN 1995.9 .D39 D68 2012

Entries for topics, persons, film titles, all about how desire manifests itself in the cinema, in musical comedy, film noir, the burlesque, and horror films.

Dictionnaire de la Pensee du Cinema.  Main PN 1995 .D47 2012

In French.  Biographical and topical entries.  Also entries for particular films.  Further reading references.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema.  Main PN 1993.5 .F7 O83 2007

Chronology.  Bibliography. Dictionary.  Dictionary contains entries for people: directors, screenwriters, actors, actresses, organizations, places, names of films, organizations.  Authors are professors of comparative literature and French/Francophone studies.

Dictionnaire Historique de Television Main PN 1992.5 .L43 2013

Topical and biographical entries, with bibliographies.  Chronology at the back.  A very few b/w illustrations.

Encyclopedia of French Film Directors.  Main PN 1998.2 .R444 2010 v. 1-2

Bibliography. Name Index. Title Index.  Encyclopedia portion attempts to identify every French director who has made at least one feature film during the first century of cinema, 1895-2005.  About 3,000 entries.  Silent-era directors. Animators. Documentarians. Avant-garde amateurs.  Doesn't do "porn directors," those known mostly as specialists of this sort of production.  Most are French born but also includes those living/working primarily  in France but born elsewhere.  All TV works and shorts of each director are mentioned.  Biographical details. Filmographies to end of 2008.

Annales du Cinema Francais, Les Voies du Silence 1895-1929.   Main PN 1993.5 .F7 L54 2012

Chronological history of French silent cinema.  BW illustrations.  Time lines.  Bibliography.  Filmography.  Videography.  Index of films.  Thematic index.

Tresors du Cinema Francais Des Annees Trente  Main PN 1993.5 .F8 L67 2020 v. 1-2

Encyclopedia of French fiction feature films 1919-1979 is the stated goal.  Indexes in back of v. 1  and 2: alphabetical by film title; chronological index; alphabetical index of directors, supervisors and advisors; alphabetical index of composers and musical arrangers, alphabetical index of performers.  Arrangement of each volume so far is alphabetical by title, sort of.  These two volumes only have entries for films from the 1930s, in spite of the dates on the covers.  The amount of information on each film varies in amount of details provided. 

French-Speaking Women Film Directors: a Guide.  Main PN 1998.2 .P28 1997

Francophone Women Film Directors: a Guide.  Main PN 1998.2 .P27 2005

Noteworthy Francophone Women Directors: a Sequel.  Main PN 1998.2 .P282 2011

To be used together.  Also see Pallister and Hottell, "Short Fiction Films by Francophone Women Directors" in French Review, v. 79#6 (May, 2006), pp. 1310-50.

French-Speaking Women Documentarians, a Guide.  Main PN 1995.9 .D6 P36 2005

A guide for selecting and researching women documentarians.  It includes information on each filmmaker, classifying her by her country of origin, and lists and describes her works, showing factual information such as date, duration, credits, and synopses, and pointing out critical treatments, both in English and in French, of her most important films.  Arranged by country.  Bibliography.  Sources for films.

Dictionnaire Universel des Creatrices Main CT 3230 .D54 2013 t. 1-3

Signed entries range in length from a paragraph to a page.  In French.  Covers women the world over, mostly deceased, significant in arts, geography, exploration, history, politics, economics, journalism, nursing, medicine, litterature, publishing, science, technology, sports, humanities, etc.  Some topical and place name entries.  Some entries have works by the person.  Alphabetical arrangement.  Thematic index.

International Women Stage Directors Main PN 1590 .W64 I59 2013

American Film Institute Catalog 

AFI Catalog is a national filmography documenting the history of American cinema. Cataloguing currently covers the years 1893-1974 comprehensively, with additional records covering selected major films from 1975 onwards. Drawing on the expertise of specialist staff at the American Film Institute (AFI), it is a key resource for any educational institution, library, or film organization that is involved with the research, study and teaching of film.  It does have directory, personnel, and plot summary information for some French films also.

Film Indexes Online

Brings Film Index International (British Film Institute) and AFI Catalog (American Film Institute) together in one site.

Magill's Survey of Cinema, Foreign Language Films  Reference PN 1993.45 .M34 1985 v. 1-8

Covers 700 films from around the world originating in a language other than English.  Arrangement is alphabetical by film title.  Work provides details on origin, date of release, personnel involved in its production, principal characters and their actors, and a summary of about three pages. Entries are signed.

Magill's Cinema Annual  Consulting Reference 1 East PN 1993.45 .M33 1982-

Each issue covers films released the previous year as well as some films of the past.  The signed entries are 1-2 pages; they have a summary of the film, credits, rating, running time length, brief citations to a few reviews, box office gross sales.  Also includes a list of awards, obituaries of famous people in the film world, selected books about film for the year, and indexes of directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, editors, art directors, music directors, performers, subjects of films, and film titles.

French Cinema, a Critical Filmography Main PN 1993.5 .C783 2015 v. 1-2

Overview of French cinema in 20th c. and its place in French society.  v. 1 1929-39.  v. 2 1940-1958.  Each volume is broken into chunks by decade or larger chronological periods.  With each of these chapters entries for particular films are arranged by date of release.  Entries for each film contain a list of cast members and characters, production details, overview of the film's cultural and historical significance, and a critical summary of the film's plot and narrative structure.  Bibliography at back, also list of prizes and awards. Dictionary style index.  There is to be a 3rd volume covering 1958-74.  Author is a leading scholar in French film history.

Acteurs et Actrices du Cinema Francais Main PN 1998.2 .L66 2014 v. 1- 4

Very brief bio entries for some, with much longer ones at the back for selected individuals.

Pop Culture in Europe  Main D 1055 .T98 2017

Popular music -- Books and contemporary literature -- Film -- Television and radio -- Internet and social media -- Sports -- Video games -- Fashion and couture.  Further reading references.

Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Popular Culture, v. 3, Europe  Reference HM 621 .G74 2007 v. 3

Complements Pop Culture in Europe, just above.

Encyclopedie de la Guerre au Cinema et a la Television  Main PN 1995.9 .W3 A53 2018

Covers from the Trojan War to the present.  Author writes science fiction novels and film criticism (for L'Ecran Fantastique).  Table of contents at back of the book.  Approach is chronological, with chapters on war:  in antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the French revolutionary and Napoleonic periods, the 19th century, films made in U.S.A., the colonial epoch, World War I, Russia, World War II, the Cold War, Israel, French Indochina, Korea, Algeria, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Cuba/Latin America, Africa, the Middle East.  Concludes with a selective filmography, about 60 pp., of film titles (with dates and director names) to go with each chapter.   The chapters are bibliographic/filmographic essays.  Photo signature in center, with both color and black and white images.

Reel Middle Ages: American, Western, and Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and Asian Films about Medieval Europe.  Main PN 1995.9 .M52 H37 1999

Dictionnaire Insolite des Tontons Flingueurs  Main PN 1997 .T5969 D87 2019

"Les Tontons Flingueurs" (English: Crooks in Clover, also known as Monsieur Gangster, literally Gun-toting Uncles) is a 1963 French-Italian-German comedy crime film with French dialogue, directed by Georges Lautner. It is an adaptation of the Albert Simonin book Grisbi or not grisbi.   We do not have the book.  There are two copies of the film in the ROVI collection.  The film is the final installment in the Max le Menteur trilogy; it was preceded by Touchez pas au grisbi and Le cave se rebiffe. The film was not popular with critics upon its first release in 1963, but was popular with the public. Its reputation has grown over the years to cult status and it is now a French television classic.

Encyclopedie de la Comedie Musicale  Main PN 1995.9 .M86 B75 2021 

History of musical cinema since 1927.  Entries for 500 films.  Over a thousand b/w and color photos, illustrations, and posters.  Arranged chronologically.