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Posts tagged ‘French Films’

No. 293: Un Homme et une Femme

The wide golden seashore in Deauville plays a leading role in Un Homme et une Femme, the 1966 French film by Claude Lelouch that won nearly 50 international awards (including the Palme d’Or at Cannes and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film). It also led to decades of romantic road trips and rendezvous to this famous seaside town. While strolling along the storied boardwalk last evening, I came across this plaque, and was reminded that I needed to rewatch this classic romance with the impossibly gorgeous and very French Anouk Aimée.


If you haven’t seen the film, I am sure your subconscious is familiar with the ba-da-ba-da-da-da-da-da-da-ba-da-ba song by Francis Lai and Pierre Barouh which nips in and out of scenes throughout the film.

If you have seen it, as most good Francophiles have, you will remember that much of the film is told wordlessly through either very dramatic action, or through hearing the characters’ thoughts as they talk themselves through life. Watching it again this morning, it was hard not to giggle and I still haven’t shaken the da-ba-da-ba-das from my brain. If you need to swoon and grin and want a groovy soundtrack to carry your day, take a look at this celebrated beach scene from the strands of romantic Deauville. Bonne séance!




No. 184: Laughing in French

I have to share this happy news with someone.

Last night I was able to watch the entire French film le Prénom in French (ok, avec sous-titres français) and understand almost everything that was going on. I actually laughed out loud at all the right times and cringed at the cringe-worthy moments, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The whole time I kept thinking, “Look at me understanding French!”

After 2½ years of struggling with this difficult language, being able to laugh in French seems like nothing short of a miracle.



avec sous-titres français: with French subtitles

le Prénom: the first name / given name; a rapid fire, rich and funny dinner party comedy turned dinner disaster, starring the lovely Patrick Bruel. It was a huge hit in the French theatre before being made into a film. 

No. 153-154: Cinemas and the UGC Illimité


I love going to the movies. I always have. My daddy was a big filmgoer and I have many fond memories of us watching movies together. One of my best memories with him is sitting through JAWS three times on Denver’s largest movie screen in the summer of ’75 and, by the way, still being scared out of our wits when the credits rolled for the final time.



Well, luckily for me, I now live in a country with the highest number of movie screens per million inhabitants: 89…versus 60 in Germany, 56 in the UK, and 24 in Japan. In Paris, the weekly what’s-on-in-Paris guide, the PariScope, usually has 50-60 pages listing all the films showing in the city. That’s a lot of movies, my friends.

The number of Art Houses in France also seems much higher than other places I’ve lived and there are lots of exciting film festivals held around the country throughout the year.

And here’s a small bit of history that I just discovered: France is also home to the world’s oldest surviving cinema. The Eden Theatre in La Ciotat (in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region near Marseille) just re-opened a few months ago after a massive and spectacular overhaul. The Eden is the theatre where the Lumière brothers showed the very first moving picture to a dazed and frightened audience in 1899. The 50-second black-and-white silent movie, filmed in 1895, shows a train pulling into la Ciotat station and passengers getting on and off. The audience was so spooked by the train hurling towards them that they dove from their seats in horror, at least that’s how the story goes…

…oh, the French, they do love their stories and films (and everyone else’s too)…and boy have we’ve come a long way, Baby, since that first chugging choo-choo.

In 2014, we English speakers in France have to be patient as we wait for the new releases from the US and the UK to arrive, but eventually most everything comes our way. They’ve even started running French films with French subtitles for the hearing impaired, or the linguistically challenged (comme moi).

On top of that there are several cartes de fidélité which allow you to watch as many films as you want to (or are able to) for a monthly subscription. The best deal I’ve found is the UGC Illimité. Every month for a 20€ inscription, I can see a movie at one of 600+ different salles in Paris, as well as use my card when I’m traveling throughout France.

C’est super, génial, formidable, et chouette, n’est-ce pas? It’s hard not to become a film fanatic in France.


cartes de fidélité: frequent viewing/buying cards

C’est super, génial, formidable, et chouette, n’est-ce pas! That’s super, great, terrific and cool, don’t you think?

comme moi: like me

n’est-ce pas: isn’t that so/ don’t you think

salles: room, hall, screening room

And, by the by….


les Césars (the French equivalent of the BAFTAs and Oscars) are being handed out in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet as I publish this. François Cluzet (Intouchables) is hosting and there’s lots of French political drama unfolding as Julie Gayet the new “First Girlfriend” (sort of?) to the President  is up for a supporting actress award for Quai d’ Orsay. Stay tuned.