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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Candice here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I'll answer your most common French questions.
The question for this lesson is What are some good recommendations for studying French through movies and music?
You could write a book to answer this question, but we’ll try to be short.
France has been at the heart of movie culture since the beginning of cinema. Nouvelle vague or “New Wave” was an art movement in the 50s and 60s. François Truffaut was one of its most important metteurs en scène, or “directors.” “The 400 blows” or Les 400 coups and “Stolen kisses” or Baisers Volés are some of the films he made about one character Antoine Doinel from childhood to adulthood. And they use the same actor from when he was a boy until he was an adult.
“The Battle of Algiers” or La Bataille d'Alger is actually an Italian film. But, it’s about France’s loss of their colony Algeria. It’s a very intense film and stars some people who were actually involved in the Algerian war.
If you want to learn more about the north of France, check out “Welcome to the Sticks” or Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis. This is a more recent comedy and plays heavily on northern stereotypes, so take it with a grain of salt.
“Hate” or La Haine is another very intense film. It takes place in the suburbs, or banlieues, of Paris. Another good film that takes place in les banlieues is “Girlhood” or Bande de Filles. It follows a teenage girl growing up in the suburbs.
You might want to relax a bit after watching these intense films. For that I would recommend, Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, which is also known as “Amélie.” This is a very popular movie from France and is known for its romantic portrayal of Paris. Another fun film is “Children of Paradise” or Les Enfants du Paradis, an old movie about a very talented mime.
For music, we’ll go over some of the major French stars. Serge Gainsbourg is like the Bob Dylan of France, but with a greater love for controversy. In his songs, he covers everything – the sixties, his love affairs with the most beautiful women in France, reggae, his daughter. He also sings about World War II, which, as a young Jewish boy, he spent hiding in an orphanage. You might already know Édith Piaf’s music from the movie Inception. A movie was also made about her life called La Môme, better known as La Vie en rose.
If you like more modern music I recommend NTM, a famous rap group. Java is another rap group, though it is not as hardcore as NTM. Dionysos is an indie band that often collaborates with the French singer, Olivia Ruiz. And Noir Desir is a good start if you’re interested in French rock.
But whatever you like, music is a great way to connect with other people. So look around and listen to lots of music. You’ll be studying French without even realizing it.
Pretty neat, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
A bientôt, see you soon!