A couple of videos en français

I’m always looking for videos in French with English subtitles, and this week, I lucked out with two. About things I like! Enjoy 🙂

A Paris-based illustrator tells the story of how she got there: 

Inside the Marrakesh retreat of Yves Saint Laurent’s former botanist: 

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French Videos I Don’t Understand

It all started with the show-stopping Balmain x H&M collab, which got me somewhat transfixed by the French fashion house’s bright, young, just dashing creative director, Olivier Rousteing (seriously, are those cheekbones even real?)…

Then comes the frantic googling for info/interviews/etc…Lucky for me, the guy speaks French! Here’s one (argh won’t let me embed!)

I didn’t understand too much…but am always happy to discover new places to listen to authentic French…actually, Canal+ (French cable company, Google tells me) has a trove of HQ videos, including this series of comedy shorts.

Happy (Belated) Lunar New Year!

Today’s language-learning inspiration comes from Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, who just wow-ed the world with another mesmerizing video of him speaking entirely in Chinese. This time, it’s a Lunar New Year greeting, of course.

Also fascinating: this deep dive over on Quartz on what exactly is this year’s Chinese Zodiac animal sign. Is it a sheep? Goat? Ram? Does it matter? Apparently, some people in China are laughing at Western media for getting hung up on this, which is pretty amusing in itself. Linguistic mischief!

“S’il vous plaît… dessine-moi un mouton!”

(Rough translation here)

Wow, this came out of nowhere. The video up there is the just released French trailer for the upcoming animated film The Little Prince, adapted from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s best-selling, much-adored book of the same title.

The Little Prince could be one of the most beautiful animated films of 2015,” proclaims this article in the Verge. And I don’t think it’s an exaggeration. Just from the 1:27 trailer (from which I understood approximately er, 55-60 percent?) it just feels…so magical. I didn’t even know there was a 1974 live-action version, but judging by its screen shots, I feel like at least visually, it doesn’t capture the unique sparkle and allure of the little prince…maybe I’ll give it a watch in the next few months.

Who knew animation would become so powerful? Thank you technology, and the passionate creative folk who are completely devoted to advancing this craft…

ANYWAY, sometime in the past year and a half, I finally finished reading the original story in French. I’d purchased the book and started reading for French class in high school…and alas, it’s taken over five years to finish. The margins are covered in translation notes, which just means plowing through it was quite taxing. So I should probably re-read that as well, before the new film comes out next October. I imagine it will only get more magical the second time around.

French, in a conflict zone

I’ve been following the ISIS situation closely and one particular element, which has come to light much more in recent months, has especially captured my attention. I’m talking about the fact that citizens from Western nations are fleeing their home countries and families to join ISIS in Syria. A good portion of these people are young women going over to marry and start families with ISIS fighters — many more details on this over here.

And now, in a chilling new video commissioned by French public tv station France 2, a daring Syrian woman wears a hidden camera under her niqab and gives us a glimpse of life under ISIS rule.

Towards the end of the video, you see a woman in an Internet cafe and then you hear her fluent French. She tells her loved one on the other end of the line: faut se mettre dans la tête que je ne vais pas revenir.

“You have to get it through your head that I am not returning.”

(Video is in French)