Learning French with Films
Watching films in the original is one of the most effective ways to learn this magnificent language.
And it really is that easy! We first got acquainted with French cinematography when we were children, and it has been around us ever since. Just think about comedies revolving around gendarmes, a romantic story "Umbrellas of Cherbourg", hilarious "Aliens", fascinating "Amélie", or the action-packed comedy film series "Taxi", and sitcoms with Pierre Richard…
It’s especially important to notice that this way of learning quite easily creates positive motivation because a film immerses us in the reality of the country whose language we are acquiring. We watch facial expressions and gestures, learn about habits, traditions, cultural features, humour and everyday life. These are the things which make learning feel real, and without them it’s just dry theory. It is everything that gives us the key to understanding the target language.
Jean Reno, Gerard Depardieu, Pierre Richard, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, Louis de Funes, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Adjani … this is the list of our favourite French actors which goes on and on
We bet you can’t wait to start watching!
As you can see, it won’t be difficult to choose a film. And we are here to help you navigate where and, most importantly, how to watch films in the original in a way which is going to be the best for broadening your language horizons.
Having a positive attitude is an absolute must for language learning! You have to enjoy the process. So most importantly, pick your favourite film and start this little journey
● Make sure you are in a good mood, have a dictionary and some free time. And even if you only have 15 minutes a day, watch the film in parts.
● Write down new words and expressions from the subtitles.
● While watching , pause the film from time to time and try to repeat original intonations as precisely as possible.
What are the best ways to work with new vocabulary?
As for working with nouns, it is always recommended to note their gender - the stumbling block of French - and pay attention to possible differences between masculine and feminine forms, as well as singular and plural ones. These differences are not common and are exceptions to the rules that, as you understand, must be remembered.
un roi - a king une reine - a queen
l`œil (m) - an eye и les yeux - eyes
Recommended dictionary https://www.lingvolive.com/ru-ru
If you level is А2-В1, we can also advise to work with a French-French dictionary. It will help you to enrich your speech.
Recommended dictionary www.larousse.fr
For verbs, note down the group and pay attention to the conjugation features if there are any. You can check the conjugation on les-verbes.com
Idioms and expressions deserve special attention, because it is they that enhance our speech, make it sound authentic and reflect the traits of the national character. We can say that knowledge of proverbs, sayings and catchphrases, including the ones we can learn from films, is the clear indicator of proficiency.
Here are two sources where you can find dictionaries of idioms in the French language.
What to watch?
For the beginner level A1 (you have some basic skills of listening, reading and writing) «Écho. Méthode de Français» - a funny educational series with subtitles - is going to be perfect. It is available on Youtube.
Another series is ‘Easy French’ made as a vox pop interview. And another show we recommend is ‘Extra’ , it’s a comedy which you can also find on Youtube.
If your level is A2, we recommend watching shot films. They are widely available on the internet for free. In our opinion, they are interesting to work with because of the great variety of materials. Just google ‘court metrage avec sous titres français’.
Your choice widens if your level is В1-В2 and higher.
We suggest that you choose one of the films directed by Francis Weber:
The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe / Le Grand Blond avec une Chaussure Noire (1972);
The Toy / Le jouet (1976);
The goat / La Chèvre (1981);
ComDads / Les Compères (1983);
The Fugitives / Les Fugitifs (1986).
The film «Le père Noël est une ordure» (1982) – in English “Santa Clause is a Stinker” -is deeply loved by the French and a lot of catch phrases and memorable quotes were taken from it and are used in real life. The same happened to a popular Russian film “Operation Y and other Shurik’s adventures” (we recommend you to watch it if you decide to learn Russian!). People usually watch «Le père Noël est une ordure» during Christmas season.
«The Party 1», «The Party 2» / «La boum» (1980), «La boum 2» (1982) – , starring amazing Sophie Marceau, are one of the greatest films about teenagers.
And how can we not mention “Amelie”/ Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001) !
For the ones who want to learn more every day and slang words we recommend a series about teenagers «Skam France» (2018) .
Where to watch:
Apart from Youtube and Netflix, we would recommend filmfra.com, which offers a large variety of films with subtitles.
And we also suggest you to have a look at other interesting and useful articles on learning languages with films on our website. For example, this one illustrates a very convinient scheme for working with films. Despite the fact that this article was written in relation to English, it is also going to be great for learning French.