Let’s train your ear in French with pop culture!
In the video lesson, you’ll find a real trailer for a French movie. We’ll break it down together, to take out a few sentence templates you can use to join a French conversation.
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1 - Full trailer for La Môme (La Vie en Rose)
Here is la bande-annonce (= the movie trailer) for the 2007 movie “La Môme” directed by Olivier Dahan. Its international title is La Vie en Rose.
The movie is a biopic of famous French singer Edith Piaf, nicknamed La Môme (= the kid, the child in old-fashioned French slang.)
2 - Breaking down the trailer: rise of La Môme
The trailer starts with showman’s speech introducing the young singer.
Il y a quelques jours, la destinée m’a fait croiser le chemin de celle que vous allez voir maintenant. Vous allez la voir telle qu’elle m’est apparue.
= A few days ago, destiny made me cross the path of the woman you’re going to see now. You’re going to see her as she appeared to me.
This is formal French, using pompous grammar and showmanship. It’s an introduction speech, after all, not a conversation between friends.
There’s an interesting construction here:
Vous allez la voir. = You’re going to see her.
This is le futur proche, (= near future), an easy tense that uses only “aller” and the infinitive.
You can tweak this template to use it – and to understand it in spoken French conversations. You know, without spending those 30 seconds trying to translate it in your head, and getting lost in the process!
The next sequence is:
– C’est une grande artiste.
– Parce que j’ai mis des talons !
= She’s a great artist. / Because I put on heels!
It’s a quirky joke! When a French adjective has two meanings, putting it after the noun brings out the literal meaning, while putting it before the noun is used for the metaphorical meaning.
C’est une grande artiste. = “She’s a great artist.”
C’est une artiste grande. = “She’s a tall artist.”
Here, young Edith is too naive and humble to think they’re not simply talking about her height!
3 - Trailer Breakdown 2 : famous Edith Piaf
The compliments keep coming, with fame and troubles.
Elle est étourdissante. = She’s dizzying.
La scène, c’est un tout. = The stage is a unified whole.
T’as des mains merveilleuses. Certain. = You have wonderful hands. Sure.
Edith… (Sors !) Je suis ta mère. = Edith… (Get out!) I’m your mother.
The next lines are interesting as well:
Allez la môme ! = Come on, “the kid” is a clear example of using “Allez” for encouragement, in everyday French.
Chante-nous un truc ! = Sing us something! is in the imperative, and an instance of French everyday slang: un truc means “a thingy” or “stuff.”
Then the trailer gives us the “origin story” of her name:
Elle me fait penser à un moineau… Un piaf. La Môme Piaf !
= She reminds me of a sparrow, a little bird. A birdy! The Kid Birdy!
Un piaf is slang for un oiseau (= a bird.) It became her stage name.
4) Trailer Breakdown 3: Tragedy
The last third of the trailer gives us a glimpse into her tragic love life. Starting with love:
Tu es mon champion. = You’re my champion.
Je veux que tu sois à moi pour la vie. = I want you to be mine for life.
Tu as l’air d’une fée. = You look like a fairy.
But as her fame grows, life gets darker for Edith:
J’dois chanter, Lou, j’ai pas l’choix. / C’est du suicide. = I have to sing, Lou, I don’t have a choice. / That’s suicide.
→ Je n’ai pas le choix (= I don’t have a choice) gets shortened into “J’ai pas l’choix”
Votre voix est comme l’âme de Paris. = Your voice is like the soul of Paris.
Qu’est-ce qu’il se passe ? = What’s happening?
→ Learn this sentence, engrave it in your head, it’s very often used in spoken French!
Il faut que tu sois courageuse, Edith… L’avion s’est écrasé. / Marcel !
= You have to be brave, Edith… The plane crashed. / Marcel!
→ “Il faut que” = “There’s a need for…” is followed by the French subjunctive.
Repeating all the sentences in this video will help you understand what’s going on in a French conversation. It’s like a trick to ease your French comprehension!
And it works even better if you’re confident in what’s going on in these sentences, so click around on the other lessons I linked to in this post.
Or learn more about the real life of Edith Piaf, and one of her most famous love songs, here: Improve Your French With a Famous French Love Song
À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next lesson!
→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂
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