Hi there! In the first part of this article, Best French-language movies for learners – Part 1, we learned a little about the history of the French cinema, and discovered four movies that we’ve found interesting.
Today we’ll tell you other four movies and why it’s a good way to learn French.
Why learn French with movies?
As many of you probably already know, there are four language competencies every learner should master when learning a new language: writing, reading, speaking and listening skills. Each acts as complementary of another and they altogether create skilled and efficient learners. As when we were young, we first learned how to read before we were able to write, we listened before we were able to speak. Languages should be studied as a whole, emphasizing developing oral expression and comprehension skills.
With the arrival of new educational methods, such as the communicative approach, teachers and students are increasingly aware of the potential of input information. The more input (incoming information in the target language) the student receives, the more output (information the student is capable to produce) the student will develop.
One wonderful way to enhance input possibilities for French learners is through movies. Movies give learners the chance to improve their listening skills, expand their vocabulary, learn new grammatical structures, dialects and everyday words. And the method couldn’t be more entertaining and interesting: cinema is an art. Since the Italian film critic Riccioto Canudo published in 1911 his “Manifesto of the seven arts”, cinema is been defined as an art by itself, with all its socio-cultural implications and the benefits it gives to mankind.
1. Cyrano de Bergerac – 1990
This famous French movie was directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau and starring Gérard Depardieu. The movie comes from the theater play with the same title by Edmond Rostand. It was awarded an Oscar prize the same year the movie was released.
It tells the story of Cyrano, a poet, and swordsman in love with a woman called Roxane. Roxane, though, is in love with a handsome soldier, Christian. When he sees that Roxane will not love him back, he helps Christian by sending on his behalf love letters to Roxane.
2. Léon – 1994
This action thriller film from 1994 was written and directed by Luc Besson. Starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and Natalie Portman, the movie received good critics internationally and was quite praised all over.
The plot follows the story of a 12 years old girl, Mathilda, that sees all her family die in front of her. Her father, a drug dealer, does business with a corrupt agent from the DEA, who murders him and his family. Léon, a professional hitman, saves her life and takes her with him to protect her. Mathilda, desperate for the killing of her little brother, decides to take vengeance on those who murdered him and asks Léon to teach her how to kill.
3. Amelie – 2001
Who doesn’t know Amelie? Or listens to the movie’s soundtrack and sees oneself traveling to Paris?
Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou, was a huge success and well praised by critics and viewers internationally. It is the second highest-grossing film in France, after “Intouchables”. Lisa Nesselson, from Variety, said that “If Paris got destroyed tomorrow and we lost the recipe of true love, archaeologists could perfectly rebuild it just by watching Amelie”.
Nothing to add. This precious gem follows the story of a special young waitress, Amélie Poulain, who decides to dedicate her life to help others and, on the way, finds love.
4. Un homme qui crie (A screaming man) – 2010
This drama movie from 2010 was directed by Mahamat Saleh Haroun and starring Youssouf Djaoro. “Un homme qui crie” won the Jury Prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
The movie revolves around Adam, a former swimming champion who ends up working as a swimming teacher at an upscale hotel in N’Djamena. When some Chinese entrepreneurs buy the hotel, he leaves the position to his son, Abdel. In the context of the civil war in Chad, he is forced to send his son to war to regain his position.