Lupin is a brand new French series that’s been streaming on Netflix since January 8th. I really enjoyed it. It’s fun, fast-paced, and offers a great way to practice your oral comprehension.
Let’s learn more about this TV show, the well-known character who influenced it, and how you can use it to improve your French
C’est parti !
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1) Arsène Lupin
I binge-watched Lupin, dans l’ombre d’Arsène (= Lupin, in the shadow of Arsène – its full title in French) in 3 days. And I really enjoyed it!
It’s not a really deep or nuanced work of art – but it’s a cool, fun French show… and there aren’t so many of those! It’s on Netflix.
The show is an homage to the fictional burglar Arsène Lupin, created in 1905 by Maurice Leblanc. He was basically a superhero, a mix between James Bond and Catwoman from La Belle Époque (= “the good period,” as we call the French early 20th century, before the Great War.)
He appeared in (or is referenced in) many movies, novels and shows; such as the 1957 “The Adventures of Arsène Lupin”, or a 2004 adaptation with French actor Romain Duris, and even a Japanese manga series and a Filipino soap opera.
2) The new French Netflix series
The 2021 show Lupin doesn’t take place in 1905. In fact, it doesn’t depict Arsène Lupin at all!
Instead, the plot takes place in modern times and the main character is called Assane Diop.
Assane is a fan of Arsène’s, and he takes inspiration from the famous fictional burglar. They both share a theme of being a master of disguise and a lover of the finest things in life: they’re un gentleman cambrioleur (= a gentleman burglar, as sung by Jacques Dutronc)
Assane is played by comedian Omar Sy, who went from small parts to big fame thanks to the 2011 movie Intouchables. He’s now starring in some Hollywood blockbusters, but he’s still very popular in France.
There’s something especially interesting for you when watching this show: with the subtitles on, you can practice your spoken French comprehension with different situations!
3) Practice your French oral comprehension
Assane Diop, the main character, is a master of disguise, so he will often change his words, his tone of voice, and his body language to suit the situation.
With his ex-wife:
“Figure-toi qu’j’ai un job.”
( = I’ll have you know I have a job.)
→ Very casual and relaxed. Everyday French words, eats letters.
With local thugs:
“Tu décolles rien du tout, d’accord ? Tu m’reposes. Et j’vous explique comment faire d’l’oseille. Beaucoup d’oseille.”
(= “You don’t go anywhere, OK? You put me down. And I’ll tell you how to make money. A whole lot of money.”)
→ Confrontation. He mimicks the local thugs, uses their slang and special grammar. And he also eats letters, as always in spoken French.
As a millionaire:
“Laissez, Thibaut. Le capitaine fait son travail, je suis à sa disposition.”
(= “It’s OK, Thibaut. The captain is only doing his job, I’m fully at his disposal.”)
→ Articulates, uses formal elegant French. He’s in a position of power.
4) Final thoughts
All in all, I had fun watching this show. It’s nice to see a French Netflix show with some budget behind it, and you get some nice shots of Paris – without totally erasing the shabby parts of Parisian life. And the show carries some of the diversity of the 21th Century.
Go check it out!
You can find more recommendations about TV shows that I like (or don’t like) with two lessons Netflix shows set in Paris, and other French comedies you can also check out:
À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!
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