When you're in the mood to embrace the chic and sophisticated world of the French, nothing sets the tone like a French film. Losing yourself for a couple of hours in a French comedy or drama is relaxing and enjoyable. However, unless you speak French, you'll probably want a movie with English subtitles so you can understand the film. Watching subtitled films may seem a bit odd at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll not even notice that you're reading as well as watching.
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Locate a source that offers French films with English subtitles. Check with your local video store or library for DVDs, or purchase a subscription to an online movie service that offers a good selection of foreign movies.
Choose one or two movies based on your interests. If you're familiar with any French movie stars, search for their films or simply choose your films by topic and description. Some classics to consider are "Breathless," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Belle de Jour."
Choose a time when you can watch your movie uninterrupted. Watching movies with subtitles does require some concentration. When you are distracted, you can quickly lose track of what's happening in the film. Also, don't watch the movie with others who are not interested in French films. There is nothing more annoying than listening to comments from the peanut gallery when you're trying to enjoy something new or different.
Get comfy and relax while you watch your movie. If you want popcorn and a cold pop, fix it beforehand so you can focus your attention on the screen without having to stop the movie to get up to prepare snacks.
Focus on the setting of the movie, the fashions, the gestures and other details, as well as the characters and dialogue. If you've never travelled to France, this is your chance to soak up the details and nuances of the country, both visually and audibly.
Consider watching the movie a second time. Even with movies in English, you often notice things during a second viewing that you may have missed during the first. This is especially true of foreign films when you're busy watching subtitles at the same time as the movie.
Locate an independent cinema in your area and check their upcoming schedule. Many smaller theatres -- also known as art houses -- show quality films that appeal to a smaller group of viewers. Call the theatre and ask if they have a foreign film night or if they have plans to show any subtitled French movies. Your local newspaper is a good source to locate a smaller, less-publicised venue of this type.
Tips and warnings
- Check out bestfrenchfilms.com, filmsdefrance.com or understandfrance.org to get ideas for movies you may enjoy.
- Study basic French to expand your ability to understand French films.
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