The status of female students changed dramatically in the 1960s, as we see in the example of Denise Basdevant, a young mother studying at the New Science Faculty in Orsay, Paris.
With the narration taken care of by an informative voiceover and supported by figures, among Rohmer’s female portrait documentaries capturing the movements of 1960s’ French society, this is probably the film that most resembles an x-ray aiming for a kind of objectivity. But that’s not all, as it also sketches a tale of liberation, particularly in the spatial duality experienced by the young scientist – a domain almost exclusively reserved for men – and mother: her domestic life at home and professional life at Orsay, a suburb south of Paris where the large technology centre was being established. Above all, we’re in the presence of a woman in motion, and “A Modern Coed” closes with a shot in which it’s the father holding the baby.
Programmer, teacher and critic
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