Learn French with Netflix: An analysis of “J’ai perdu mon corps”

Salut!

I love recommending TV series on French Netflix, to help you get better at understanding real, everyday spoken French. Today, let’s expand to a full-length, beautiful, award-winning animated movie: “J’ai perdu mon corps” (= I lost my body.)

We’re going to break down a scene from the movie, to help you improve your French.

C’est parti !

Summary:
1) Learn French with “J’ai perdu mon corps” : about the movie
2) Learn French with “J’ai perdu mon corps” : about the scene
3) Learn French with “J’ai perdu mon corps” : Full French subtitles, with English translation
4) Learn French with “J’ai perdu mon corps” : Fast spoken French pronunciation

Want all the vocabulary of the lesson ?

1) Le verlan in French: A few examples

J’ai perdu mon corps (= I lost my body) is a 2019 French animated film directed by Jérémy Clapin.
It’s poetic and strange, and very unique. I loved it. The movie is built around three main plot lines.

  • The life and struggles of young Naoufel in contemporary France, near Paris
  • Flashbacks to Nafouel’s childhood in le Maroc (= Morocco.)
  • The most striking plot: the adventures of une main coupée (= a severed hand,) running across Paris to find its owner.

It’s beautiful and gory and captivating. That’s why it won several prestigious awards:

  • Grand prix de la Semaine de la critique at le Festival de Cannes
  • Le César du meilleur film d’animation
  • Le César de la meilleure musique originale
  • Nominated for l’Oscar du meilleur film d’animation

It’s available on American Netflix right now if you want to watch it tonight. Pick the French audio if you dare!

Les Césars du cinéma are the French Academy Awards. The award itself is a compressed sculpture in bronze by the sculptor César Baldaccini.

2) Learn French with “J’ai perdu mon corps” : about the scene

It’s not a very talkative movie overall. But in the scene for this lesson, the spoken French they use is really interesting.

Gabrielle is a young woman checking in on her uncle, so she uses slang and casual spoken French, like:

  • Les médocs (= Un médicament) = Meds,
  • Mon scoot (= Mon scooter) = My scooter. (And not Un scout = a boy scout!)

Gigi, her uncle, is older, more old-fashioned but still informal. So he’s simply using everyday French, without special slang or anything. Notice the expression:

  • J’ai passé l’âge. = “I’m beyond the age” literally = I’m too old for that type of thing.

Naoufel, the protagonist of the movie, is trying to impress Gigi (and Gabrielle.) In the rest of the movie, he usually speaks with informal slang like Gabrielle does. But here, he’s trying a more professional vocabulary, such as:

  • Using vous instead of tu (to show respect to the older man Gigi)
  • À l’essai (= in training / for a trial period)
  • Jeune et dynamique (= young and dynamic,) a big cliché for young people in the workplace.

Some more vocabulary:

  • L’annonce (= the classified ad)
  • Déçu (= disappointed) (It’s un faux ami, a false cognate – it’s not “deceived”)

3) Learn French with “J’ai perdu mon corps” : Full French subtitles, with English translation

Bonjour ! Je peux faire quelque chose pour toi ?
– Hello ! Can I do something for you?

En fait je viens pour l’annonce. Vous cherchez toujours un apprenti ?
– Actually, I’m here for the classified ad. Are you still looking for an apprentice?

Quelle annonce ?
– What ad?

Ouh, ça date. C’est vieux, ça. Désolé !
– Ooh, that’s dated. It’s old, that one. Sorry!

Tiens, tes médocs !
– Here, your meds!

Tu pars déjà ?
– You’re leaving already?

– Il faut que je récupère mon scoot, le garage va fermer. Hop ! Pardon.
– I have to get my scooter back, the garage is going to close. Hop ! Sorry.

– Pardon.
– Sorry.

– À demain, Gigi !
– See you tomorrow, Gigi!

– À demain, ma chérie !
– See you tomorrow my dear!

Prenez-moi. Prenez-moi, vous ne serez pas déçu je vous promets–
– Hire me. Hire me, you won’t be disappointed I promise-

Attention ! Elle a dix ans, cette annonce. je ne prends plus d’apprenti depuis…
– Careful! It’s a ten-year old ad. I haven’t taken any apprentice since…

Prenez-moi à l’essai alors. Qu’est-ce que vous avez à perdre ?
– Hire me on a trial basis, then. What do you have to lose?

Du temps. Un apprenti, c’est du boulot. Ça prend du temps. J’ai passé l’âge.
– Time. An apprentice is work. It takes time. I’m too old for this.

Justement, moi, je vais vous soulager. Je suis jeune, je suis dynamique…
– Exactly, I’m going to relieve you. I’m young, I’m dynamic…

Me soulager ? Me soulager de quoi ?
– Relieve me? Relieve me from what?

4) Learn French with “J’ai perdu mon corps” : Fast spoken French pronunciation

The characters don’t actually pronounce all the words and syllables in the subtitles. Instead, they speak everyday French that can go really fast, cutting letters left and right.

That’s why learning our language in books or non-native speakers can be very different from actually understanding everyday spoken French. And that’s why I love to practice that with you!

For instance:

Negations like “ne” (in “ne … pas”) get cut all the time. As in:

  • Je ne prends plus → Je prends plus (= I don’t take anymore)
  • Vous ne serez pas déçu → Vous serez pas déçu (= You won’t be disappointed)

The “il” in the impersonal “il faut” (= There needs to, someone needs to…) gets cut. → “Faut

Je becomes J’ even before a consonant. J’ + s- becomes Ch- as in:

  • Je suis → J’suis → “Chuis” (= I am)

In one-syllable words with -e, that come before any other word, the e (“uh” sound) gets cut, even before a consonant! As in:

  • Que → Qu’
  • De → D’

Sometimes the e gets cut inside a word, to speak faster, like:

  • Vous serez → Vous s’rez

Here are the subtitles with added real spoken French pronunciation:

– Bonjour ! J’peux faire quelque chose pour toi ?
– En fait je viens pour l’annonce. Vous cherchez toujours un apprenti ?
– Quelle annonce ?
– Ouh, ça date. C’est vieux, ça. Désolé !
– Tiens, tes médocs !
– Tu pars déjà ?
– Faut qu’j’récupère mon scoot, le garage va fermer. Hop ! Pardon.
– Pardon.
– À demain, Gigi !
– À demain, ma chérie !
– Prenez-moi. Prenez-moi vous s’rez pas déçu j’vous promets–
– Attention ! Elle a dix ans, cette annonce. J’prends plus d’apprenti depuis…
– Prenez-moi à l’essai alors. Qu’est-ce que vous avez à perdre ?
– Du temps. Un apprenti, c’est du boulot. Ça prend du temps. J’ai passé l’âge.
– Justement, moi, j’vais vous soulager. Chuis jeune, chuis dynamique…
– Me soulager ? Me soulager d’quoi ?

Watch the video lesson to follow the process of breaking down a scene from a French movie.

Or click on the links below to get to your next lesson about real everyday spoken French:

À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!


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