Miracle language learning solutions – neither miracles nor solutions

Miracle language learning solutions – neither miracles nor solutions

miracle language learning curesMiracle language learning solutions – there are so many theories and received ideas about what makes a good learner (especially a good language learner) that a penny for every one would make someone very rich.

Miracle language learning solutions – let me just take some of that back.

There are many spouting the snake-oil, ‘miracle solutions’ to learn this and that ‘with no effort’ that one is led to believe that learning is quite a simple process, made up of a blend of osmosis and trickery that one can accomplish in one’s sleep. You know, the ‘become fluent in {enter an unreasonable number of days, weeks, months or lessons here}.

It has almost resulted in a competition to see who can propose the craziest process, that, apparently nobody has ever seen before, which has escaped all academia since the dawn of time.

This idea of ‘no effort’ surely seduces many, who have put lots of effort into learning something in the past, but whose efforts have fallen by the wayside for whatever reason.

Let me just reassure you – Learning is not a spectator sport, and the only ones who are getting rich by these charlatan methods of hoodwinking would-be learners, are those that are bombarding our in-boxes with their ridiculous, but sometime tempting, offers of ‘miracle language learning cures.’

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The truth is that to become a good learner, in whatever subject you can think of, one has to be a good listener and that is a lot easier said than done.

It is not because you have a highly developed sense of hearing that you can automatically become a good listener – the two are just not the same.

Hearing is largely passive, whilst listening is an active process, but in order to listen effectively, we need to be able to hear effectively too.

That said, they are not reversible, nor binary processes.

Listening can be said to be an active, i.e. effort, process of trying to make sense of what we hear, it is a conscious process, whereas hearing can be as simple as detecting the sounds that we hear around us.

Listening is also closely linked to attention and concentration, so we can have excellent hearing and still be bad listeners – I’m sure you have many examples in mind to confirm this.

The only way to become a good listener is by training the ear and, consequently, the only way to train the ear is to listen – does that make sense?

Imagine a tourist set up with a great phrase book, who visits Barcelona for a weekend. He is able to more-or-less say what is written in the book phonetically, his interlocutor may well, with effort, be able to figure out what he is trying to say, but what if his new-found Spanish (or Catalan) friend responds to his question?

Is there any point?

Nine times out of ten, the tourist will understand very little, or nothing of what is said to him?

He can, however, hear what is being said to him, albeit as a blur of unintelligible (to him) language.

One of the common reactions when listening to a foreign language is that the person speaks too fast, that they ‘eat their words’ and do not articulate, that they make no effort or that ‘they speak like that just so we can’t understand them’.

Of course there is a solid and logical argument to these assertions … no there isn’t, it is completely false, apart from some isolated cases where speakers don’t want you to understand what they are saying – cue the paranoia.

The problem lies in the interpretation of the issues – in fact it isn’t a case of understanding – ‘I don’t understand’. This is looking at things the wrong way round. The reality is that we just don’t hear, the sounds in the language, the intonation etc. so how can we hope to eventually understand, starting from this fundamentally flawed approach.

Take English for example, a language of quite distinct tonal range, from the very high tones to the very low, add to that sounds which are unfamiliar such as Schwa, weak forms, liaison between words, irregular rhythm (for some foreign learners) and variable stress patterns – not to mention accent, emotion and other confounding elements.

Now I am not saying that language learning has to be approached from a linguist’s standpoint – in fact very much the opposite.

What I am saying is that we need to be able to hear the language in very broad terms before being able to listen and finally understand our interlocutors.

The traditional language school methods of ‘listen – repeat – answer questions – produce’, the ‘Drill and Kill’ method, is clearly lacking in many of the process steps that lead to successful language learning – hey, it can work for some subjects, but regrettably this cannot be applied to all and especially not to language acquisition or learning.

Who remembers singing their multiplication tables at school? That was effective, wasn’t it – those that studied Latin may have managed to learn their verbs in this way too – but Latin is a dead language, this method is questionable when applied to language learning, although many press ahead with this, perhaps unwilling or unprepared to question the inefficacy of these methods.

The long and short of it is that language is a skill that doesn’t really deal with facts – it is a soft skill, not a hard skill, which involves changes in the person and their process of learning, not the outside factual world.

Many criticize the concept of passive listening – listening in the background or listening even when you don’t understand what is being said.

I must agree to a very narrow extent with this, in as much as listening passively with no clear objective for why you are listening, is, in my point of view, aimless listening. However, if there is a clear objective for the listening, which I have discussed in other posts on my blog, then this is a very constructive way forward which I can guarantee works (now that may be letting down the drawbridge, but do bring it on).

Maybe we should really get down to the core of the issue and ask the question why it is so difficult to hear and learn new patterns, expressions and vocabulary in another language, when this is something we do naturally, on a daily basis in our own, native languages.

Go on, try it, ask yourself the question and see what you come up with.

I have argued in other posts, which has sure raised a few hackles, that teaching juts doesn’t work (I’m not blaming teachers – it is a profession that is lambasted from all sides, but the problem is systemic and situational) especially as far as languages are concerned, but we pursue this, probably because we don’t know any other way – although there are many possibilities, just have a look what Carl Rogers had to say on this as far back as the 1950s – although I’m sure there will be resistance for the next 60 years at least.

To some extent, reading and writing, and perhaps speaking are learnt skills, that could if you believe it to be true, lend themselves to being taught.

On the other hand, listening is so often overlooked as a skill or competency that will somehow develop naturally as long as the other three skills in language learning are achieved – which is a flawed argument on so many levels.

Paul Sulzberger argues that, “When we are trying to learn new foreign words we are faced with sounds for which we may have absolutely no neural representation. A student trying to learn a foreign language may have few pre-existing neural structures to build on in order to remember the words.”

This must surely strike a chord for those battling to learn a language in school or later in life. This could also be understood by those who go abroad for two or three weeks and get the chance to use their school French or German (or any other language for that matter). As the language is used and as the ear tunes in to the second language, it becomes slightly easier as the holiday progresses, only to go back to square one the following year when on holiday again.

Once again, I reiterate, it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time to learn a language and the ear is the key – when the ear works everything works, notwithstanding feelings of embarrassment or shyness when using the language, but this is another issue.

Paul Nunan calls listening ‘The Cinderella skill’, Listening is the Cinderella skill in second language learning. All too often, it has been overlooked by its elder sister: speaking. For most people, being able to claim knowledge of a second language means being able to speak and write in that language. Listening and reading are therefore secondary skills – means to other ends, rather than ends in themselves.

Traditional language learning methods, from the grammar-translation to the Communicative approach, are still lacking in terms of the order of what effective language learners need. Sure, reading, writing and grammatical proficiency lend themselves as skill-sets, to teaching, whereas listening, and I mean really facilitating a process of how to listen, is severely lacking in language learning.

This could be due to the fact that it is virtually ‘unteachable’, forcing the ‘teacher’ into, what is sometimes ‘dangerous’ territories that require facilitation skills and learner autonomy.

I’d like to add that there is a gulf of difference between independence and autonomy – I’m not talking of letting learners just get on with it on their own, but more of changing the power-dynamics in learning, which for some can prove uncomfortable and is often misinterpreted.

Of course there are very few, to my knowledge, MFL or ESL training courses that put a heavy stress on listening processes, beyond setting listening tasks and constructing questions to check understanding or even to produce summative,  formative or ongoing assessments to check the validity (levels) of the learners in terms of their understanding.

I know of none of these courses (but I do hope they exist) that take a structured approach to the learning of listening-process skills – a process approach that can be applied to varying contexts where listening is involved, a transverse, more than an ‘in-line’ or supplementary skill.

Listening skills are so very important that it goes without saying that they are vital skills to develop and I’m sure we all agree with this (apart from the ‘Fluent in 3 months’ brigade).

Additionally, this is the natural way that we learn or acquire, our own languages – we don’t learn all fours language skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) at once, and this is why, apart from the total immersion effect and the possibility that we are hard-wired to naturally acquire our native language due to many other factors, we acquire our native language seamlessly and highly effectively.

Almost the same can be said for bilingual children with parents speaking two different languages – there must be a key in there somewhere …

So the question remains as to why these methods, of simultaneously learning the four skills in language learning are pursued in general – is it not futile? Is it time to change?

5 ways to listen better

5 ways to listen better

5 ways to listen better In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, “We are losing our listening.”

In this short, fascinating talk, Julian Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you 5 ways to listen better.

There are some great tips here for language learners.

Listening is probably the most difficult task for almost all learners of English as a foreign language. The most important thing is to listen, and that means as often as possible – regularity really is the key.

Once you have begun to listen on a regular basis, you might still be frustrated by your limited understanding.

Here are a few action steps you can take:

  • Accept the fact that you are not going to understand everything.
  • Stay relaxed when you do not understand — even if you continue to have trouble understanding for a while.
  • Do not translate into your native language.
  • Listen for the gist (or general idea) of the conversation.
  • Don’t concentrate on detail until you have understood the global ideas.

First, translating creates a barrier between the listener and the speaker. Second, most people repeat themselves constantly.

By remaining calm, you can usually understand what the speaker had said.

However, understanding is the final goal and there is a long road to get there, fist you need to be able to hear the sounds that make up a language.

Go on, try these 5 ways to listen better

What really happens if there is no Brexit deal?

What really happens if there is no Brexit deal?

What really happens if there is no Brexit deal?

Taking your car abroad

In a sentence You’ll have to request a green card from your insurer if driving to Europe after 29 March.

Currently, a driver of a UK-registered car is allowed to drive anywhere in the EU, the EEA (European Economic Area), Switzerland and Serbia, and not have to carry a green card that proves you have insurance cover.

But if the UK leaves without a deal, all changes and drivers will be expected to carry a green card when in mainland Europe and Ireland. They are likely to be issued by an insurance company for free, but the industry is warning it could take up to a month to obtain one, so if no deal happens and you’re booked to go away with the car this Easter, you will need to act fast.

The official advice from the UK government is: “From 29 March 2019, in the event that there is no EU exit deal … drivers of UK-registered vehicles will need to carry a motor insurance green card when driving in the EU and EEA.”

Note that a green card (and they do have to be on green paper) typically lasts only 90 days, and if your insurance renewal comes up while you’re abroad, you will need one for each cover period. The card applies to the vehicle, not the driver.

Direct Line insurance says: “In the event of a no-deal Brexit, we have plans to ensure customers are provided with a green card if they drive in Europe on or after 29 March. Customers will need to contact us at least two weeks in advance of when they are due to travel.”

In Ireland, where 30,000 drivers commute across the border daily, and where shoppers from Dublin frequently head to Belfast and vice versa, the green cards issued are likely to be valid for one year. Irish insurers have prepared 400,000 green card forms in the event of no deal, and some UK insurers are now proactively sending green cards to customers in Northern Ireland.

Insurers say they are already incurring hefty costs to organise the cards and prepare their staff in call centres to handle an inevitable barrage of questions. The Association of British Insurers says it would much rather none of this was happening. “It remains the case that insurers do not want a no-deal Brexit; it would be bad for the economy and bad for our customers,” it says. “We continue to hope these arrangements are never needed and urge the government, UK parliament and EU27 to agree an orderly way forward.”

Meanwhile, if your UK-registered car sports an EU flag on its numberplate, you might want to buy a GB sticker. From 29 March, if the UK leaves without a deal, the government says: “You may need a GB sticker even if your vehicle has a europlate [displaying both the EU flag and a GB sign]. You will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you replace a europlate with a numberplate that features the GB sign without the EU flag.”

Driving with a UK licence when abroad

In a sentence You will have to buy an International Driving Permit to drive in Europe, at a price of £5.50, with different ones required for France and Spain.

If there is no deal with the EU then recognition of UK driving licences in the EU ends. So British drivers will have to go to the Post Office and obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), which you will need to carry with you in conjunction with your UK driving licence.

There is a curious twist to the international rules which means that if, say, you drive through France and into Spain, you’ll need two different IDPs. That’s because the 1949 IDP convention covers Spain, Malta, Cyprus and Ireland, while the 1968 IDP convention covers all other EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland.

So at the Post Office you have to specify which permit you want, depending on which country you are visiting, or get both if driving between France and Spain or Portugal and Spain.

And just to add a little more complexity, the permit you buy for Portugal will last three years, but in Spain you’ll have to renew it every year.

The Post Office has set up a webpage dedicated to this process. But you can’t buy it online – you’ll have to head to a Post Office with your driving licence, passport and a passport-sized photograph.

As regards driving back and forth between the UK and Ireland, there has been significant confusion.

Last September the government’s official position was that an IDP would be required if driving across the Northern Ireland border. But in January this advice was withdrawn, and it now says: “If you hold a UK driving licence you should not need an IDP to drive in Ireland from 29 March as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries.”

It was also revealed this week that British citizens resident in Ireland – estimated to number about 300,000 – will be required to swap their UK driving licence for an Irish one at a fee of €55 (£48) if there is no deal on Brexit.

European Health Insurance Card

In a sentence They will no longer be valid and buying travel insurance will become essential.

For years, Brits travelling, studying and working in Europe have relied on the European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) that entitled the holder to state-provided medical treatment if they fell ill or had an accident in an EU/EEA country.

Two weeks ago, the UK government issued its latest advice on healthcare when travelling abroad, warning that if the UK leaves with no deal, our Ehics will no longer be valid.

It has advised anyone travelling on or after 29 March to any of the EU countries as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, to buy travel insurance to cover healthcare “just as you would if visiting a non-EU country”.

It has said it is seeking agreements with countries on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after Brexit day, but no such agreements are in place yet. Those studying or working temporarily abroad already won’t be able to buy travel insurance as they have already left. They will probably just have to risk it as, alternatively, they face having to buy expensive local insurance, which will run into several hundred pounds.

Ehic was never intended to cover long-term residents who had moved to another country, but many relied on it particularly if they spent only part of the year abroad, or for when they had just arrived in a new country.

Visas and travel

In a sentence: Visa-free travel to Europe ends, paving the way for possible £52 90-day visas.

It’s arguably the craziest prospect of all, but if the Brexit impasse is not broken, British tourists face having to apply for a visa to visit most of mainland Europe.

That was the warning from Brussels this week where reports say there is a very real prospect of UK citizens having to apply for a €60 (£52) visa to enter the Schengen area, which includes most of the EU countries we generally visit.

The problem concerns talks that have become mired in a dispute with Spain over whether the British overseas territory Gibraltar should be described as a “colony” in the EU’s statute book.

If no solution can be found the UK will be left in legal limbo as it is not on the list of countries where a visa is required to visit the EU, nor on a list of countries with an exemption.

It could mean UK citizens heading to Europe for Easter having to pay for a Schengen visa or be left waiting for a bilateral deal. In a tit-for-tat move, EU citizens coming to the UK would face a similar scheme. Further down the line, the EU is proposing an electronic visa waiver system valid for three years at €7.

Questions also remain about how travellers will be treated when they arrive in Europe. Portugal is the only EU state so far that has said it will create a third lane at airport passport control to speed Brits through. Without a deal, they face having to queue with all non-EU passport holders, with the inevitable long delays.

Flight compensation

In a sentence The government promises to keep EU flight delay payouts, but airlines could use changes to fight having to pay out.

European Union flight compensation regulations have been fought in almost every UK court, so could a no-deal Brexit give the airlines another opportunity to stop paying passengers after a lengthy delay or cancellation?

That’s the warning from lawyers this week – in spite of government promises that in the event of no deal, passenger flight rights will remain. The EU Withdrawal Act provides that EU regulations – as applied now – will convert into domestic law, meaning the same rules will continue to apply until legislators in the UK decide otherwise.

On the face of it, passengers will still be able to claim to up to €600 (£536) in compensation when airline problems cause their flight to land more than three hours late, or is cancelled. They will also be entitled to meals and hotels if the delays are caused by problems beyond the airline’s control.

However, with just over a month to go, specialist flight compensation lawyers say there has been no explanation as to how it will work. The compensation rules currently apply to all airlines based in the EU, and flights out of EU airports on non-EU-based carriers.

The wording of the new legislation would have to watertight, says Coby Benson, solicitor at Bott and Co, because in the past the airlines have used any ambiguity to dismiss legitimate claims, and have fought them through the courts.

“We anticipate that if the new adopted legislation is not entirely clear, the airlines will seize upon this to allow them to wriggle out of paying. This has been the history of this legislation from the start, and I can only foresee further court battles. If the airlines spot a get-out opportunity, they will try to use it to their advantage,” he says.

Pets

In a sentence The EU pet passport scheme ends for UK travellers and their cats and dogs – replaced with expensive tests every time they travel.

If you were planning to take your dog or cat on holiday to Europe after a no-deal Brexit, you may want to think again after you have read this.

The UK’s participation in the European Union pet passport scheme in effect ends on 29 March. It means that cat and dog owners (the documents also mention ferrets) will need to show that their animals are healthy – and produce new documents to support their animal’s health when they arrive in the EU.

Pet owners will also have to show that their animal been effectively vaccinated against rabies by undergoing a rabies antibody titration test at least 30 days after inoculation, and no fewer than three months before they enter the European Union.

Pets will need to travel with an animal health certificate issued by an officially registered vet. This certificate can only be issued up to 10 days prior to entry into an EU member state.

The British Veterinary Association has warned that a no-deal Brexit will lead to pet owners facing longer waits (pdf) to get their animal cleared for travel, higher costs for the required vaccination, treatments and health certificates each time they leave the UK.

This comes at a time when many veterinary practices are already experiencing worker shortages and recruitment problems, it says. The advice is to book well ahead if you’re planning to take your pet abroad.

Mobile phone roaming charges

In a sentence Phone companies say they have no plans to reintroduce charges – but don’t rule them out either.

Arguably the EU’s most significant consumer benefit of recent years has been the abolition of mobile phone roaming charges. The EU first capped then finally scrapped roaming charges across mainland Europe in June 2017.

It means EU citizens can use their mobile in another EU state as if they are at home. Call plans that typically include 500 free minutes and 2GB data can be used abroad without incurring extra charges, which, before the EU’s intervention, regularly cost more than the flight to your destination.

But if the UK crashes out of the EU at the end of March, the culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, has confirmed there will be nothing to stop mobile operators reimposing the charges.

So hooked on smartphones have we all become, a return of roaming charges might be considered one of the worst impacts of leaving the EU.

The biggest providers – Vodafone, O2 and EE – confirm they have no plans to reintroduce them on 1 April, but equally have not ruled out their reintroduction. Only Three has promised not to reinstate them irrespective of the Brexit outcome.

Currently, EU mobile phone networks are not allowed to add extra charges to calls made by customers of other EU operators. That ends with a no deal.

O2 says: “We will be working closely with the government and other European operators to try and protect the current arrangements, so our customers can continue to enjoy free EU roaming.”

Ministers have said the government will legislate to put a £45-a-month limit on the amount that could be charged for mobile data abroad. There will also be requirements for customers to be informed when they have reached 80% and 100% of their data allowances.

A future trade deal with the EU would include the abolition of, or limits to, mobile roaming charges, they have said.

Pensions and investments

In a sentence Retirees to Europe should worry about the future of their state pension, but private pension issues were largely resolved this week.

The 200,000 British citizens aged over 65 who have retired to the EU – half to Spain – still don’t know if their UK state pension will be uprated every year after we leave the EU, or whether they’ll join the “frozen’ pensioners” in Canada and Australia who have seen their pensions shrivel.

The government has committed to uprate pensions across the EU in 2019 and 2020, but after that will only go ahead if there is a deal. It says: “We would wish to continue uprating pensions but would take decisions in light of whether, as we would hope and expect, reciprocal arrangements with the EU are in place.”

If they are not uprated, it could leave retirees in poverty and force a return to the UK. Someone retiring to Australia 20 years ago still receives the basic weekly UK state pension rate of £66.75 prevailing at the time.

But there’s better news on private pensions. For months the UK pension industry has been in limbo around whether they can look after a private pension taken out in the UK if the person has retired to the EU. But this week the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) in Frankfurt said providers could continue to operate much as before, even with no deal.

Steven Cameron of Aegon says: “There were concerns that UK providers might have been unable to service the policies of such individuals. We very much hope EU regulators will confirm they are following EIOPA’s recommendations and will not treat these policies as ‘cross border’ which should allow servicing to continue.”

Investments in funds, such as equity Isas, should be unaffected with a “temporary permissions regime” in place even if we crash out.

The much bigger picture is what happens to stock markets and sterling in the event of a cliff-edge withdrawal. Sterling remains 12% below the level it was against the euro before the referendum, and currency dealers expect it to fall below €1.10 and $1.20 – and possibly much more – if there is no deal.

Bank accounts

In a sentence The EU-mandated £85,000 safety net will remain and the vast majority of UK account holders should be unaffected.

The immediate impact of no deal on UK bank account holders is likely to be minimal, but the cost of card payments between the UK and the EU is likely to rise and processing times become slower.

Banks report that they have been receiving calls from worried Brits living in the EU who regularly access their UK-based bank account. Will a hard Brexit mean they can no longer use these accounts? The banks are assuring customers that they can continue to use them and transfer money overseas as they did before.

Even if a bank appears to be from an EU country, there are few issues. For example, both Santander UK and Bank of Ireland (UK) are domiciled in the UK for regulatory purposes and post Brexit will be treated exactly the same as Lloyds or Barclays.

However, there are those who are domiciled outside the UK and use EU membership to “passport” their services to the UK. But even here agreement has been reached, with a temporary permissions regime allowing them to carry on in the UK for three years after Brexit, and apply for authorisation during that time.

The £85,000 protection for deposit accounts is partly the product of EU directives.

But the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) says: “FSCS protection for UK-based customers of UK authorised firms will not change, regardless of whether the UK leaves with or without a deal.”

This article was published in The Guardian

Brexit Update 9 April 2019

Brexit Update 9 April 2019

Dear Everyone,

The British Government continues to seek a way in which the UK can leave the EU in an orderly manner and without undue delay. In the meantime, the French Government is publishing more information about what a no-deal would mean for British nationals in France. We want to share this information with you, so we will be emailing updates to you as and when we can.

This update covers the French Ministry of Interior’s decree about entry, residence, social rights and professional activity in France for British nationals in the event of a no-deal departure from the EU. The second part of this newsletter covers the recognition of UK driving licences in France in the event of no-deal.

On British nationals’ residency in France

We are pleased to share with you a translation of the French Ministry of Interior’s decree. This has been done by a legal translator, but remains an unofficial document. In case of any discrepancies or differences in interpretation, the French original will prevail.

The decree is meant to be read alongside the ordonnance that came out on 6 February — an unofficial translation of this ordonnance is available here. We will pull the information from both documents together so that we can update our Living in France guide. It is important to get this right so it will take us a few days.

In the meantime, here is a summary of the decree’s provisions. As you can tell, it’s not definitive and there are a number of points, some of which we’ve flagged below, where we are seeking more information from the French authorities.

  • The grace period to get your appropriate status for residency is confirmed as one (1) year following Exit day. During this year, citizens already residing in France on Exit day will see their residency and associated work and social rights maintained.
  • There will be a six (6) month period following Exit day to submit your application for the new residence status. You will need to apply for a new card even if you have an EU card (permanent or other). We have raised the issue of insufficient capacity at some préfectures and understand that the process will be simplified, including to reduce visits to the préfecture where possible.
  • The application fee will be €119 for the first card issued. There is no information about renewals.
  • Where there is a financial resource requirement for certain residency cards (e.g. the “visitor” card for “non-actifs or retired”), the decree says that this will take into account individual circumstances, including whether you own your property or stay in your home for free. It also indicates that the resources requirement will not exceed the basic level of the RSA benefit. We know that this is a really important issue for many of you, and we continue to press for further detail and the most generous approach possible.
  • Applicants for certain cards will need to show that they have health insurance. However, the decree does not specify what types of cover will count as health insurance for this purpose – so we are raising this urgently with the French government.
  • To get one of the new residence cards, you will need:
    • a valid passport
    • a recent, passport-type photo (3.5 × 4.5 cm)
    • current carte de séjour if you have one, or
    • proof of the date you moved to France if you do not currently hold a carte de séjour.
    • PLUS further papers depending on the type of card you apply for. For example, if you are applying for a “salarié” or worker status, you will need to provide your work contract and a recent payslip (not more than three months old).

On UK driving licences in France

On 3 April, the French authorities published more details about the use of UK driving licences in France in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. This judgment (“arrêté”) is meant to be read alongside the judgment of 8 February 1999 on the recognition of European driving licences. Here is a summary of the provisions of both and what they mean in practice.

  • The UK driving licences of British nationals resident in France before the UK leaves the EU will be recognised in the same way as they are now, including if we leave without a deal.  This covers people currently resident in France and those who relocate here up to the date of a no-deal exit.  There is no limit to this recognition, but we would recommend that residents exchange their licences at some point in the future. 
  • In the event of a no-deal, British nationals who move to France after we leave the EU will have to change their UK driving licence for a French one within a year of arrival in France. Please see the conditions for converting a licence below.
  • However, people who hold British licences that were initially issued in the British Virgin Islands, the Falkland Islands, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, the Republic of Korea or Zimbabwe will not be able to convert their licences and will have to take a French driving test to obtain a French licence.  The one year grace period still applies.
  • Students will be able to continue to drive on their British driving licence for as long as they are registered students in France.

The judgment of 8 April 1999 defines the conditions for recognising and exchanging licences. These conditions stipulate that one cannot hold both a French driving licence and a driving licence of another EU/European economic zone country at the same time. In order to exchange a British driving licence for a French one, the British driving licence must:

  • Be valid.
  • Belong to a person having reached the minimum French age for that licence.
  • Respect any specific conditions attached to the licence (e.g. restrictions linked to disability, use of prescription lenses, etc.).
  • Be held by someone who is not subject to driving restrictions, suspension or similar in the country which issued the initial licence.
  • Not have been obtained while the holder was barred from driving in France.

Please note that French driving licences will still be valid for use in the UK after EU exit.

Although not covered in this judgment, we continue to be told that British tourists will need to carry a certified translation of their UK driving licence with them or carry an International Driving Permit. We are pressing for more details on this.

A reminder again that the provisions mentioned above will apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Other provisions will apply if we leave with a deal.

As soon as we have updated our Living in France guide, we will send round an alert. You can register for an alert by clicking here. We will also be running another Facebook Q&A and we will update you on social media and GOV.UK with the date. 

Thank you.

Top Ten Marriage Proposal Fails

Top Ten Marriage Proposal Fails

Top Ten Marriage Proposal Fails

Top Ten Marriage Proposal Fails – Oh dear – it’s Valentine’s day and I’ll bet there are lots out there that are going to pop the question today … but, is it a good idea?

Are you sure that he or she will say, yes?

If you are planning to propose, make sure you know 100% that he or she will say YES!

Otherwise you will look like one of these poor guys here – watch and learn what not to do.

Hoping hat your Valentine’s day goes well! ??

My 50 Greatest French Films

My 50 Greatest French Films

My 50 Favourite French Films

Not in any order

 

French Cinema

France can, with some justification, claim to have invented the whole concept of cinema. Film historians call The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, the 50-second film by the Lumière brothers first screened in 1895, the birth of the medium.

French cinema is fabulous – OK, there are some films that are a bit weird and some that are, frankly, unwatchable, but on the whole, French films are fabulous.

If you want to get a peek into a culture or a country, watch the films of that country. A lot of the French comedy films rely on exposing the stereotypes of the country – those stereotypes that all French people know – take “Les Bronzés font du ski”  “Un Air de Famille” or “Camping” for a glimpse at the model French stereotypes. This also shows that the French are quite capable of laughing at themselves.

Here are 50 of my favourite French films, in no particular order.

Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud 1958

Ascenseur pour l’échafaud, is a 1958 French crime film directed by Louis Malle, starring Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet as criminal lovers whose perfect crime begins to unravel when Ronet is trapped in an elevator.

The scenario was adapted from a 1956 novel of the same name by Noël Calef, associated by some critics with the film noir style, and introducing new narrative and editing techniques, the film is considered an important work in establishing the Nouvelle Vagueand the New Modern Cinema. Its score by Miles Davis, and the relationship the film establishes between music, image and emotion, were considered ground-breaking.

Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis 2008

Philippe Abrams is the manager of the postal service in Salon-de-Provence, in southern France – married to Julie, whose depressive character makes his life miserable, so he does everything to get a job at an office on the Mediterranean coast to make her happy

As this favorable position will be granted to somebody who is disabled, Abrams decides to pretend that he is. However, the management finds out. As punishment, he is banished for two years to Bergues, a town near Dunkirk in northern France – a cold and rainy place inhabited by unsophisticated ch’tis.

He has to spend his first night at the home of Antoine, a co-worker of his, whom he initially dislikes for his obnoxious behavior and because he initially thinks he is gay (he found photographs of Antoine dressed as a woman, taken during a carnival party and Antoine admits to doing more than dressing as a woman during that time). However, Antoine and Philippe later become best friends.

Asphalte 2015

With Isabelle Huppert, Gustave Kervern, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.

A building in a city with a broken elevator. Three meetings. Six characters.
Will Sternkowtiz leave his chair to find the love of a night nurse?
Charly, the abandoned teenager, will he manage to get a role for Jeanne Meyer, actress of the 80s?

And what will happen to John McKenzie, astronaut fallen from the sky and collected by Mrs. Hamida?

Au Revoir Les Enfants 1987

 

In the midst of World War II, Julien Quentin leaves his mother and Paris to travel to a Catholic boarding school in the country. Upon arrival, he meets Jean Bonnet, the new boy who claims to be Protestant, and, though hostile at first, begins to befriend him. He is the only boy who discovers his new friend’s secret: that he is a Jew named Jean Kippelstein hiding from the Gestapo.

The turmoil in France at the time is apparent in this film through several instances. First, there are two air raids during which the students must hide in a sheltered basement underground. Collaborators search the school at one point looking for shirkers from German work camps. Also, when Jean and Julien get lost in the woods during a “boy scout game”, they are caught by Nazi soldiers and returned to the school.

Camping 2006

At the campsite Les Flots Bleus, on the Atlantic coast holidaymakers come from all over France.
Like every year, it is the moment to reunite around drinks with the regular campers.
Except that this year, the Pics no longer have their usual space 17, the Gatineau family in separate tents after the husband was caught having an affair, and Patrick Chirac, the playboy of Dijon, has been stood up by his wife.
It is in this campsite that Michel Saint Josse, plastic surgeon from Paris, finds himself well stuck, by accident after his car breaks down and he experiences the existential problems of a species hitherto unknown to him: the camper …

Dialogue avec mon Jardinier 2007

A painter returns from Paris to his childhood home in rural France. The painter notices that the house’s once-impressive vegetable garden has fallen into neglect, and he hires a local gardener to put it back into shape. The gardener appears to be a former schoolmate. The painter discovers the bucolic side of life and its beauty. Over the next few months, the two men become friends through long conversations

Through the eyes of each other, they experience the world in a new light. The gardener’s occasional stomach cramps is identified as cancer and soon he passes away. The painter takes what his friend has given him and shares a part of it through an art exhibition.

Intouchables 2011

 

In Paris, the aristocratic and intellectual Philippe is a quadriplegic millionaire who is interviewing candidates for the position of his carer, with his red-haired secretary Magalie. Out of the blue, Driss cuts the line of candidates and brings a document from the Social Security and asks Phillipe to sign it to prove that he is seeking a job position so he can receive his unemployment benefit.

Philippe challenges Driss, offering him a trial period of one month to gain experience helping him. Then Driss can decide whether he would like to stay with him or not. Driss accepts the challenge and moves to the mansion, changing the boring life of Phillipe and his employees.

Jean de Florette 1986

Co-adapted by director Claude Berri from a novel by Marcel Pagnol, this hugely successful French historical drama concerns a bizarre battle royale over a valuable natural spring in a remote French farming community.

City dweller Jean Cadoret (Gérard Depardieu) assumes ownership of the spring when the original owner is accidentally killed by covetous farmer Cesar Soubeyran (Yves Montand). Soubeyran and his equally disreputable nephew Ugolin (Daniel Auteuil) pull every dirty trick in the book to force Cadoret off his land, but the novice farmer stands firm. Although the Soubeyrans appear to gain the upper hand, the audience is assured that they will eventually be foiled by the vengeful daughter of the spring’s deceased owner — thus setting the stage for the film’s equally successful sequel, Manon des Sources.

Jeux Interdits (1952)

June 1940, during the Battle of France. After five-year-old Paulette’s parents and pet dog die in a German air attack on a column of refugees fleeing Paris, the traumatized child meets 10-year-old Michel Dollé whose peasant family takes her in. She quickly becomes attached to Michel. The two attempt to cope with the death and destruction that surrounds them by secretly building a small cemetery among the ruins of an abandoned watermill, where they bury her dog and start to bury other animals, marking their graves with crosses stolen from a local graveyard, including one belonging to Michel’s brother. Michel’s father first suspects that Michel’s brother’s cross was stolen from the graveyard by his neighbour. Eventually, the father finds out that Michel has stolen the cross. Meanwhile, the French gendarmes come to the Dollé household in order to take Paulette. Michel cannot bear the thought of her leaving and tells his father that he would tell him where the stolen crosses are, but in return he should not give Paulette to the gendarmes. His father doesn’t keep his promise: Michel destroys the crosses and Paulette ends up going to a Red Cross camp, but at the end of the movie is seen running away into a crowd of people in the Red Cross camp, crying for Michel and then for her mother.

L'Emmerdeur 1973

Ralph Milan is a contract killer who is paid to kill Louis Randoni, whose testimony in various trials could harm the organisation. Ralph waits for his prey in his hotel room, but is interrupted by his comical neighbour, a shirt salesman named François Pignon (Jacques Brel). Pignon, who is suicidal since his wife left him for a reputed doctor named Fuchs (Jean-Pierre Darras), tries to hang himself on the waterpipes, but only manages to cause a flood.

Realizing that if Pignon tries to kill himself again the police will search the place, Milan offers to talk him out of it until after his assassination. Unfortunately Pignon starts irritating him more, and makes it more difficult for him to fulfill his contract killing.

La Cuisine au Beurre 1963

Fernand Jouvin, a prisoner of war, escapes from a prison camp in Germany and taken in by Gerda, a busty Austrian with a big heart. Years later, the Russians release Gerda’s husband, so the restaurant owner from Marseilles decided to return to Martigues to his wife, Christiane, claiming to have been taken prisoner in Siberia during his very long absence.

But on his return, Fernand finds his typical Marseillais  restaurant “Le bon bouillabaisse” renamed as “La sole Normande” … And his wife Christiane, who thought he was dead, remarried with Andre, a chef from Normandy. At first things are tense, and later the rivalry sets in between the two men

La Fille sur le Pont 1999

The plot centres around knifethrower Gabor (Auteuil) and a girl called Adèle (Paradis), who intends to kill herself by jumping from a bridge. Gabor intervenes to prevent the suicide and persuades Adèle to become the target girl in his knifethrowing act.

The film then follows their relationship as they travel around Europe with the act. Their companionship and teamwork mean great luck for both of them. Then they get separated and their lives once again become luckless. The film ends on a bridge in Istanbul, this time with her saving him from suicide.

La Grande Vadrouille 1966

Summer 1941. Over German-occupied France, a Royal Air Force bomber becomes lost after a mission and is shot down over Paris by German flak. Three of the crew, Sir Reginald, Peter Cunningham and Alan MacIntosh, parachute out over the city, where they run into and are hidden by a house painter, Augustin Bouvet, a puppet show operator, Juliette, and the grumbling conductor of the Opéra National de Paris, Stanislas Lefort.

Involuntarily, Lefort, Juliette and Bouvet get themselves tangled up in the manhunt against the aviators led by Wehrmacht Major Achbach as they help the airmen to escape to the free zone with the help of Resistance fighters and sympathisers.

La Haine 1995

The film depicts approximately 20 consecutive hours in the lives of three friends in their early twenties from immigrant families living in an impoverished multi-ethnic French housing estates in the suburbs of Paris, in the aftermath of a riot. Vinz (Vincent Cassel), who is Jewish, is filled with rage. He sees himself as a gangster ready to win respect by killing a Police man, manically practising the role of Travis Bickle from the film Taxi Driver in the mirror secretly. His attitude towards the police, for instance, is a simplified, stylized blanket condemnation, even to individual policemen who make an effort to steer the trio clear of troublesome situations.

Hubert (Hubert Koundé) is an Afro-French boxer and small-time drug dealer, the most mature of the three, whose gymnasium was burned in the riots. The quietest, most thoughtful and wisest of the three, he sadly contemplates the ghetto and the hate around him. He expresses the wish to simply leave this world of violence and hate behind him, but does not know how since he lacks the means to do so. Saïd  – (Saïd Taghmaoui) is an North African who inhabits the middle ground between his two friends’ responses to their place in life.

La Promesse de l’aube 2017

With Pierre Niney and Charlotte Gainsbourg – Based on Romain Gary’s memoir, it presents how he overcame poverty in Poland, sensual education in the south of France and WWII aviation derring-do in Africa and Europe.
It also portrays the fierce love between Gary and his vivacious single mother Nina.

La Traversée de Paris 1956

Paris in 1942, under German occupation, unemployed taxi-driver Marcel Martin makes his living delivering parcels by night for the black market.

One evening he must carry by foot, to the other side of the capital, four suitcases containing pork meat. He goes to the basement of a grocer named Jambier and plays the accordion to mask the noise while the animal is slaughtered. Martin then goes with his wife Mariette to the restaurant where he must meet his accomplice, but learns that the man has been arrested by the police.

La Vérité si Je Mens 2000

In Paris, Eddie Vuibert (Richard Anconina) is an unemployed man in financial difficulty. A rich Jewish cloth manufacturer takes Eddie into his corporation out of pity because he mistakenly believes him to be Jewish as well.

Eddie rapidly integrates in the Parisian Jewish community and rises as a sales manager. He continues his masquerade of pretending to be Ashkenazi Jew in order to woo his boss’s daughter (played by Amira Casar).

Le 15 Août 2001

Three men whose wives are friends join them, as well as their children, in La Baule in their shared holiday rental.

Only on their arrival, they notice the surprise departure of the wives, who decided to leave them the children to take a few days holiday alone. This angers Max, who has prepared himself to tell his wife that he was leaving her to live with his mistress. He must also manage his step daughter, a pretty independent teenager. Raoul, having no children, stays alone with his dog, when he has just decided to quit smoking. Vincent, must learn to control his children, who he has educated very liberally, being more himself a big kid than an adult.

They all dive into the problems of rent, neighborhood, cohabitation, and in the book of Louise Abel, which encourages women to regain control of their lives.

Le Corniaud 1965

A French, Italian and Spanish comedy film by Gérard Oury starring Louis de Funès and Bourvil. It was released in 1965. As of 2013, it is still one of the 20 highest-grossing films in France along with La Grande Vadrouille, another Oury-de Funès-Bourvil collaboration.

Leaving Paris for his summer vacation, the naïve Antoine Maréchal has his 2CV totally wrecked in a collision with the Bentley of company director Léopold Saroyan. As compensation, Saroyan offers Maréchal the chance to drive a friend’s 1964 white Cadillac DeVille convertible from Naples to Bordeaux, all expenses paid. Unknown to Maréchal, Saroyan is the leader of a criminal gang and the Cadillac is filled with heroin, gold and precious stones, including the largest diamond in the world, the Youkounkoun.

Le Déménagement 1997

Who has not experienced the stress of a move? Especially when you are a young writer like Alain, about to leave a good publishing house to write a sitcom for television, that his wife is about to give birth and moreover when the movers are Romanians who work on the black and they do not really have any sense of punctuality …

Le Dîner de Cons 1998

Pierre Brochant, a Parisian publisher, attends a weekly “idiots’ dinner”, where guests, who are modish, prominent Parisian businessmen, must bring along an “idiot” who the other guests can ridicule. At the end of the dinner, the evening’s “champion idiot” is selected.

With the help of an “idiot scout”, Brochant manages to find a “gem”, François Pignon, a sprightly employee of the Finance Ministry (which Brochant, a tax cheat, loathes) who has a passion for building replicas of landmarks with matchsticks…

Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain 2001

The film is an original and sometimes idealised representation of contemporary life in the Montmartre district of Paris

This is one of the world’s biggest commercial successes for a French film. The film receives numerous awards and nominations, including 13 at the Césars, and 5 at the Oscars.

In 2002, it won four Césars, including Best Film and Best Director.

Le Goût des autres 2000

Three men, three women, opposites, possibilities, and tastes.

Castella owns a industrial steel barrel plant in Rouen; Bruno is his flute-playing driver, Franck is his temporary bodyguard while he negotiates a contract with Iranians, his wife Angélique does frou-frou interior decorating and loves her dog.

The conventional Castella hires a forty-year-old actress, Clara, to tutor him in English, and he finds her and her Bohemian lifestyle fascinating. Is this love? What would she say if he declared himself? Through Bruno, Franck meets Manie, a barmaid who deals hash. They begin an affair. Are they in love? They joke about marriage. As the women hold back, the men must make decisions.

Le Grand restaurant 1966

The Grand Restaurant is a French comedy film directed by Jacques Besnard, released in 1966.

Conceived by Louis de Funès in the late 1950s, the film tells the story of the misadventures of Mr. Septime, owner of a great Parisian restaurant on the Champs-Elysées, flagship of French gastronomy, who is tyrannical with his employees and obsequious with his clients.

His life is turned upside down by the kidnapping of a South American head of state in his prestigious establishment, and all suspicions are aimed at him.

Le Pacte des Loups 2001

Le Pacte des loups is a 2001 French historical action horror film directed by Christophe Gans, co-written by Gans and Stéphane Cabel, and starring Samuel Le Bihan, Mark Dacascos, Émilie Dequenne, Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel.

The film is loosely based on a real-life series of killings that took place in France in the 18th century and the famous legend of the Beast of Gévaudan; parts of the film were shot at Château de Roquetaillade. The film has several extended swashbuckling fight scenes, with martial arts performances by the cast mixed in, making it unusual for a historical drama.

The film received generally positive critical reviews, highlighting its high production values, cinematography, performances and Gans’ atmospheric direction.

Le Pari 1997

Bernard is a teacher in the suburbs and lives with Victoria. Didier is a wealthy Parisian pharmacist and is married to Murielle, Victoria’s sister. While the former drives a rusty car, the latter drives a black Mercedes. Both brothers-in-law are complete opposites and hate each other. During dinner, Didier and Bernard make a bet: to stop smoking for fifteen days, until the next family get-together.

The first days go off like a dream and both are on top of the world. But things quickly turn sour. Didier and Bernard find it harder and harder to resist the temptation. They become irritable, suspicious, they lie; until the fifteenth day: the family get-together. They have kept their word, but relations between them and their wives are at an all-time low. Despite this, they are both determined to remain non-smokers.

Le Père Noël est un Ordure 1982

Le père Noël est une ordure is a cult French comedy play created in 1979 by the troupe Le Splendid and turned into a film directed by Jean-Marie Poiré in 1982

Pierre a stuffy, self-righteous volunteer at a telephone helpline for depressed people and his well-meaning but naïve co-worker Thérèse, are stuck with the Christmas Eve shift in the Paris office, much to their displeasure…

Le Placard 2001

Forty-something Francois Pignon, who has worked for years as an accountant for the same contraceptive manufacturer, becomes suicidal when he learns that his company is downsizing and he is about to lose his job.

Work means everything to this gloomy and boring little man since both his ex-wife, who left him after two years of marriage, and their 16-year-old son avoid him. But things are about to change when Pignon’s psychologist neighbor persuades him that he can save his job by coming out to his employers as a gay man — even though he isn’t.

Le sens de la fête 2017

French comedy that see Max a caterer for thirty years who has organized hundreds of parties, he’s even a bit over it all.

Today it’s a magnificent wedding, yet another one, in a seventeenth century château. This time, Pierre and Héléna are getting married. As usual, Max has coordinated everything: he’s hired his brigade of waiters, cooks, and dishwashers, advised the couple on a photographer, reserved the orchestra, arranged the floral decorations, in short, all the ingredients have been brought together so that the celebration is a success.

Le temps qui Reste 2004

Romain, a gay, 31 year old fashion photographer with terminal cancer elects to die alone, preparing others to live past him rather than prolong the inevitable with chemotherapy or be smothered in sympathy by those who know him.

He finds out he is terminally ill and has only three months to live. He rejects the treatment for his metastasized tumor that might offer him a slim (less than 5%) chance of survival.

Romain exhibits both selfish and reckless behavior. He realizes that his good looks give him a certain amount of leeway and he tests the forbearance of the people who care for him. He chases away his lover Sasha and delights in antagonizing his sister. The only person in whom he confides about his illness is his grandmother Laura.

Le Vieux Fusil 1975

In Montauban in 1944, during the German retreat from France, Julien Dandieu is an ageing, embittered surgeon in the local hospital.

Frightened by the German army entering Montauban, Dandieu asks his friend Francois to drive his wife and his daughter to the remote village where he owns a chateau. One week later, Dandieu sets off to meet them for the weekend, but the Germans have now occupied the village. He finds that all the villagers have been herded into the church and shot. In the château, now occupied by the Germans, he finds his daughter shot and his wife burnt alive by a flame-thrower…

Les Apprentis 1995

With François Cluzet and Guillaume Depardieu – Between dead-end jobs and disastrous burglaries, “épic” erotic experiences and severe romantic disillusions, “Les Apprentis” follows the adventures and misadventures of two friends.

The sometimes painful apprenticeship of a daily life where love, friendship or simply the closeness of others is the greatest of riches.

Black comedy about two best friends, one a budding playwright and the other a motorbike freak, who spend their time annoying their girlfriends and getting into various scrapes. Things turn nasty, however, when the pair are caught burgling the offices of a karate magazine, the consequences of which sends the playwright into a spiraling bout of depression.

Les Bronzés font du ski 1979

The eight friends who met at a summer holiday in a Club Med resort on the Ivory Coast find themselves in a winter sports resort in Val d’Isère.

Bernard and Nathalie, get rich, and flagrantly show off their riches. Gigi, now married to Jerome, runs a crêperie. Christiane returns to them transformed by the love she has found with an affable sexagenarian, Marius. Popeye, always showing off, gives ski lessons and gets into trouble chasing women, married or single. Jean-Claude, wanders and fantasises in the void, vainly believing in the feminine encounter that will transform his life …

A must-watch, hilarious film with all the necessary tongue-in-cheek stereotypes and clichés to provide a glimpse into French culture.

Un illustre inconnu 2014

Sebastien Nicolas lives alone. To try to make sense of his life, he follows strangers and usurps their identity by disguising himself as them. When one day he meets a world famous violinist, he sees the life he has always dreamed of, so more than borrowing it, it he steals it.

Getting taken over by events, Sebastien takes huge risks to become the one he would like to be, even to sacrifice his own life, and that of others …

Les Enfants du Marais 1999

With jacques Villeret and Jaqcues Gamblin a lighthearted and nostalgic drama about life among a group of close-knit friends, Les Enfants du Marais tells the tale of a girl named Cri-Cri, who in flashback recalls growing up in a community along a quiet marsh in France.

The two men are still dealing with their experiences from World War I, as is their friend Mr. Richard (Michel Serrault), who turned a junk business into a successful metal foundry but still visits his old pals at the marsh, because he feels they’re the only ones who understand him.

Les Petits mouchoirs 2010

In a Parisian nightclub, party man Ludo (Jean Dujardin) takes off late at night on his scooter, where he’s blindsided by a truck. Lying between life and death in the hospital, Ludo is visited by his band of longtime pals, who decide that the gruesome crash should not prevent them from embarking on their coveted summer holidays.

The group’s stress level is further goosed by pot-smoking rebel Marie (Marion Cotillard), lovesick actor Eric (Gilles Lellouche) and the even more lovesick Antoine (Laurent Lafitte), all of whom are suffering from failed or failing relationships.

Les Tonton Flingueurs 1963

A cult French comedy. Fernand is an ex-gangster with a plant hire business in Montauban. His modest, quiet life is disrupted when his childhood friend, Louis “the Mexican”, who has become the boss of a gangster organisation in Paris, summons him to his deathbed.

Louis appoints Fernand head of his business and guardian of his teenage daughter, Patricia, who only thinks about having fun and has never lasted in any school more than six months…

Les Trois Frères 1995

Three half-brothers are reunited at their mother’s funeral.

After being told of their inheritance they quickly spend the money, only to find out that they will not receive it after all.

The men grow closer while deciding how to proceed.

Les Visiteurs 1993

Les Visiteurs is a French fantasy comedy film directed by Jean-Marie Poiré and released in 1993. In this comedy, a 12th-century knight and his servant travel in time to the end of the 20th century and find themselves adrift in modern society.

Manon des Sources 1986

Following the events of Jean de Florette, Manon, the daughter of Jean, is living in the countryside of Provence near Les Romarins, the farm that her father once owned. She has taken up residence with an elderly Piedmontese squatter couple who teach her to live off the land, tending to a herd of goats and hunting for birds and rabbits. 

Revenge, love, and the shocking irony of a hidden family relationship highlight this sequel to the acclaimed Jean de Florette. Although Manon des Sources can stand alone as a separate motion picture, viewers will gain a deeper understanding of it if they view Florette first. Both films, masterpieces of modern French cinema, owe their plots to Marcel Pagnol’s novel L’Eau des Collines.

Marche à L'Ombre 1984

Denis, an eternal anguished, roams with his friend François, a handsome guitarist. Back from Greece, both go to Paris, where a friend has to house them. But the friend in question disappeared, and the roof of his house blows off. Thus, without a penny and without housing, Denis and François are forced to go busking in the Paris Metro.

In a hotel, they defend an African who invites them to his squat, where he lives in a joyful community of musicians. Denis falls in love with Marie-Gabrielle, one of the squatters, while François falls in love with Mathilde, a young dancer, who is preparing to leave for New York …

On Connait la Chanson 1997

In this homage to acclaimed TV scripter Dennis Potter (1935-1994), French director Alain Resnais has actors lip-synch in a manner instantly recalling Potter’s Pennies from Heaven (1978 TV serial, 1981 movie) and The Singing Detective (1986).

Papi Fait de la Résistance 1983

The Bourdelles are one of those great families of classical musicians that Paris prides itself on.

When the Germans invaded the capital in 1940, they refused to play in front of the occupier. André Bourdelle quickly joins the Resistance and is killed when his own grenade explodes in his hand. In 1943, the mansion Bourdelle is requisitioned by the German army, which houses General Spontz, Francophile, music lover. The whole family finds themselves relegated to the cellar, along with Michel Taupin, a companion in the shadow of André Bourdelle. Cohabitation is difficult. Each one fights in his own way against the invader. One day, Héléna and her daughter bring back an English aviator who has just escaped from the Kommandantur …

Pas Sur La Bouche 2003

A high-society housewife finds her social standing threatened when her American ex-husband arrives in Paris in director Alain Resnais’ adaptation of André Barde’s farcical 1920s-era operetta.

With money to spare and a lavish home, Gilberte Valandray (Sabine Azéma) spends most of her days relaxing and enjoying the company of close friend Huguette (Audrey Tautou).

When Gilberte learns that her ex-husband Georges Valandray (Pierre Arditi) has arrived in Paris, her desperate bid to keep her past hidden from her current husband is further complicated by the constant advances of her many admirers.

Tati Danielle 1990

Tati Danielle, supposedly in ailing health but in reality just a nasty old woman, lives with a paid housekeeper who she regularly abuses.

When the housekeeper dies falling off a ladder, Danielle moves in with her great-nephew and his family. She continues using her nastiness to manipulate everyone into doing things her way until the family goes on vacation to Greece. The young housekeeper they hire to watch after her knows what Auntie is doing, and deals with her accordingly, and they begin forming respect for each other.

Un air de famille 1996

A bourgeois family — including domineering matriarch Madame Menard (Claire Maurier), rebellious daughter Betty (Agnès Jaoui), unambitious son Henri (Jean-Pierre Bacri) and his financially successful yet perpetually nervous brother, Philippe (Wladimir Yordanoff) — assemble at a restaurant to celebrate the birthday of Yolande (Catherine Frot), Philippe’s timid wife.

As the evening wears on, bitter sibling rivalries and decades-long grudges and slowly reveal themselves.

Un Long dimanche de Fiançailles 2005

Five French soldiers are convicted of self-mutilation in order to escape military service during World War I. They are condemned to face near certain death in no man’s land between the French and German trench lines. It is reported that they were killed in battle, but Mathilde, the fiancée of one of the soldiers, refuses to give up hope and begins to uncover clues as to what actually took place on the battlefield. She is all the while driven by the constant reminder of what her fiancé had carved onto one of the bells of the church near their home, MMM for Manech Aime Mathilde.

Along the way, she discovers the brutally corrupt system used by the French government to deal with those who try to escape the front. The story is told both from the point of view of the fiancée in Paris and the French countryside—mostly Brittany—of the 1920s, and through flashbacks to the battlefield.

Un crime au paradis 2001

A French black comedy with Jacques Vileret and Josiane Balasko – In 1980 France, Jojo lives with his ill-tempered drunken wife Lulu who hates him.

Sympathized by the entire village, Jojo meets a lawyer who is an expert on murder cases.

Soon Jojo discovers how to commit the perfect murder.

Viens Chez Mois J'Habite Chez Une Copine 1981

Guy, on the street and without work, finds a good soul to host him, his friend Daniel, house mover, who lives with his girlfriend Françoise.

A terrible loser, Guy is not only going to make Daniel lose his job but also ruin things with his girlfriend.

While the lovebirds end up getting back together, Guy, alone again, develops new problems…

Le Bonheur est dans la pré 1995

Francis Bergeade goes through a tough day, the employees of his small WC business are on strike, his wife Nicole is once again as painful as her daughter, and the tax office is urgently asking for a small fortune.

Gerard, his thunderous friend, takes him to a restaurant to forget his worries, but Francis does not have time to taste his food as a heart attack strikes him down.

After a stay in the hospital, he begins his convalescence. One day, a television reality show broadcasts his photo, or rather that of a man who disappeared 28 years ago,  and that his entire family, farmers in the Gers, are frantically looking for him.

The missing man looks like his twin brother. Francis sees this as an unexpected opportunity to change his life …

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