Frantastique and Francophone culture

Every day, you'll hear a citation with different accents, film clips, songs and more to help you explore the richness of Francophone culture around the world.


Le film du jour : À bout de souffle

« Si vous n’aimez pas la mer, si vous n’aimez pas la montagne, si vous n’aimez pas la ville, allez vous faire foutre ! » À bout de souffle , Jean-Luc Godard, 1960


The clip of the day comes from À Bout de Souffle (Breathless), an emblematic film of the Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) of French cinema of the 60's. Breathless is the story of a car thief (Jean-Paul Belmondo), who falls in love with a young American student (Jean Seberg). This New Wave manifesto establishes a major departure from traditional cinema at the time, exploring many different types of editing, using handheld cameras, jazz music, natural lighting and a modest budget. The film is a modern illustration of life's tragedies, in which a breathless man is betrayed by a woman, and where only art can transcend life.

Le film du jour : Diva

« Le zen dans l’art de la tartine. (...) Y’a plus de couteau, y’a plus de pain, y’a plus de beurre. Y’a plus qu’un geste qui se répète... » Diva , de Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1981


Today's clip comes from Diva , a 1981 film by French director Jean-Jacques Beineix. This police film is characteristic of 1980s art house cinema. It's set in Paris in the early hours of dawn. In this clip, the character Serge Gorodish (played by Richard Bohringer) introduces Jules, the protagonist, to the sacred French art of the 'tartine' (spreading things on bread).

La citation du jour : Victor Hugo

« Ce que j’étais hier, je le serai demain. » Victor Hugo, Les Sept Merveilles du monde , dans La Légende des siècles

Today's quote comes from the poem Les Sept Merveilles du monde (The Seven Wonders of the World), which first appeared in the 1877 collection La Légende des siècles . In this huge collection of texts, Victor Hugo writes about human history and evolution, combining scenes from the past, present, and future.

La chanson du jour : Pas mon papa

« La nuit, je rêve de baffes et de gros zéros De fautes d’orthographe et de Victor Hugo » Pas mon papa , de Henri Salvador, 1960


Today's song is by Henri Salvador (1917 - 2008). This honey-voiced French singer was born in French Guyana, and was a fan of pétanque, or boules. His style elegantly combines Creole rhythms, jazz, blues and bossa nova. His career began in the cabaret clubs of the 1930s, before he moved towards pop music. He wrote and covered many popular songs, including Maladie d’amour , Une chanson douce , Syracuse , Le lion est mort ce soir , etc.

La chanson du jour : Le poinçonneur des Lilas

« J’fais des trous, des p’tits trous, encore des p’tits trous Des p’tits trous, des p’tits trous, toujours des p’tits trous Des trous de seconde classe, des trous de première classe. » Le Poinçonneur des Lilas , de Serge Gainsbourg (« Du chant à la une ! »), 1958


The song of the day was written, composed and performed by iconic French crooner Serge Gainsbourg (1928- 1991). Serge Gainsbourg was a famous French songwriter, composer and singer, and this song, called Le poinçonneur des Lilas , was his first major hit. The musical chords are similar to the ones used in the James Bond theme. Gainsbourg even claimed to have created the melody years before the film was made! The song recounts the story of a controller on the Parisian metro, punching holes in the tickets of passengers, with the refrain of 'making holes, making holes, always little holes'. This song was covered by many artists and bands, including Hugues Aufray, Les Doigts de l’homme, Tryo, Alfa Rococco and others.

Le film du jour : Jules et Jim

« On s’est connus, on s’est reconnus, On s’est perdus de vue, on s’est r’perdus d’vue On s’est retrouvés, on s’est réchauffés, Puis on s’est séparés. » Jules et Jim , de François Truffaut, 1962


The song of the day, Le tourbillon de la vie ('The whirlwind of life'), comes from the film Jules and Jim directed by François Truffaut and adapted from a novel by Henri-Pierre Roché. It is the story of a love triangle: Jules and Jim are two friends who fall in love with the same woman, played by Jeanne Moreau. Wishing to experience unconditional love, this liberated woman imposes her rules and creates a constant 'whirlwind of life' around her. Generally considered to be a masterpiece, this film has become a classic of French cinema.

Le film du jour : La Haine

« C’est à moi qu’tu parles, mec ? » La Haine , de Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995


The clip of the day comes from La Haine , a powerful French film written and directed by Matthieu Kassovitz. The film deals with issues of violence in the Parisian suburbs, difficulties of social integration, and the relationships between troubled youth and the police. La Haine has greatly influenced cinema as a whole, as well as French society. This film received the award for Best Director at the 1995 Cannes Festival, as well as three César award, including best film. French actor Vincent Cassel (1966- ) plays the main role, Vinz. The scene shown in today's lesson is directly inspired by Robert De Niro's classic sequence in front of the mirror in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver ('You talkin’ to me?'). La Haine 's take on the scene has also become a catchphrase in French culture.

La citation du jour : Frédéric Beigbeder

« Tout écrivain est un ghostbuster : un chasseur de fantômes. » Frédéric Beigbeder, Un roman français , 2009

The quote of the day comes from French writer, critic, director and TV presenter Frédéric Beigbeder (1965 - ). Beigbeder wrote several novels including 99 Francs , L’amour dure trois ans and Un roman français , which won the Prix Renaudot, a prestigious French literary award.