Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cinéma Français: Lacombe, Lucien

Lacombe, Lucien is a compelling character study based on the true story of a French boy who joins the Gestapo in France’s south-west during the death throes of the war, immediately after being rejected from the local resistance.

Directed by renowned French filmmaker Louis Malle and released in 1974, the film abounds with fascinating contradictions: Lucien is as attracted to the resistance as he is to the Gestapo, the Gestapo’s tailor is a Jew, Lucien falls in love with tailor’s daughter.

Ultimately Lacombe, Lucien reveals the complexity, contraditions and ambiguity of both the Nazi and resistance movements of France, and in this regard functions as an ideal companion to Le Chagrin et La Pitié, a relationship that critic Pauline Kael explores in this thoughtful essay.

Although generally quite unsettling, in no small part thanks to Lucien’s almost total lack of emotion, Lacombe, Lucien is a superbly crafted and visually stunning masterpiece worth every moment of viewing. Recommended!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Melbourne Event: Bastille Day Party

This year, Melbourne’s Red Bennies will once again host a Bastille Day party. Featuring live jazz, the evening will have a burlesque flavour and will be fancy dress.

Performers will include La Mauvaise Réputation, a Melbourne band who faithfully recreate the beautiful French standards of the early 20th century, in their original French, and in the Jazz Manouche style of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt and his followers.

When? Friday 15 July, 7pm till late.
Where? Red Bennies, Level 1 373 Chapel Street, South Yarra.
How much? $15 presale or $20 general admission (standing). Click here to buy tickets online.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

De Vrais Mensonges at Palace Cinemas

30-year-old Emilie (Audrey Tautou) runs a hairdressing salon where she provides an endless stream of well-meaning advice to her clients and friends, but the only person she cannot seem to help is her own mother.

Jean, a young man who works for Emilie, is secretly in love with her but a pathological shyness prevents him from declaring his feelings. Finally, unable to contain himself, he opens his heart in a passionate anonymous letter, but Emilie has other plans.

Beautiful Lies (De Vrais Mensonges) opens at Palace Cinemas 21 July.
Critique du Monde: Même pas vrai, mais vraiment drôle

Monday, June 27, 2011

Canal Académie: Espace Apprendre

The Espace Apprendre section of the Canal Académie website offers an abundance of short educational podcasts, complete with transcripts and comprehension exercises.

The subjects of the lessons are wide and varied, from Jean Cocteau to la piratage to l’insomnie.

The main site contains endless articles and accompanying podcasts. Although some articles are restricted to subscribers only, many aren’t, such as this episode of Dictionnaire subjectif , which explores la préposition française “chez” et l’interjection espagnole “che” qui sont presque homophoniques.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Médias Français: madmoiZelle

madmoiZelle is a fabulous and playful French teen girls’ magazine/webite, with massive amounts of highly entertaining (albeit quite feminine) content to enjoy over the winter break. Here is some of the best of its light-hearted fare:

Pour rire: 30 abominables raisons de faire des enfants
Cinéma: Des affiches de films et leurs (supposés) plagiats
Cinéma: Ce que Disney nous a vraiment appris
Moi, moi et moi: 20 réponses interdites à un Je t’aime

Like, madmoiZelle has its own video channel, with manifold French musical acts, such as Juliette Katz, who performs une belle version acoustique de sa chanson “L’antidote” (above).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Péché Mignon: La Bonne Touche

La Bonne Touch is a wonderfully cheesy, super addictive radio quiz show, broadcast on RTL five days a week and freely available online!

Pour le candidat, l’objectif est simple: remporter la finale et le dix milles euros de la bonne touche. Mais pour y parvenir, il faut d’abord gagner la duel et battre un challenger. The questions are often simple: how to spell words, conjugating verbs, general knowledge, capital cities, etc.

Retrouvez toutes les émissions ici!

Monday, June 20, 2011

French Retro Pop: Nicolas Peyrac’s Je Pars...

Nicholas Peyrac est né 1949 en Bretagne, dans la petite commune de Saint-Brice-en-Coglès. Lorsque ses parents ont divorcé, il a passé un an à New York avec sa mère, avant de retourner vivre avec son père en Bretagne. Fils de médecins, il a suivi des études de médecine.

Après une période de dépression suite à la disparition de sa mère, en 1993 il s’est éloigné de Paris pour s’est installé en Californie d’abord, puis à Montréal.

Nicolas enjoyed a string of hits in the seventies and eighties, including Je pars..., So far away from LA and Et mon père.

Also a writer, Nicholas’ novels have included Qu’importe le boulevard où tu m’attends and J’ai su dès le premier jour que je la tuerais.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

SBS: French Food Safari

Food Safari is returning soon with an all-new French-inspired series! Over nine episodes, French chef Guillaume Brahimi will visit France’s top kitchens and food pilgrimages.

Leaders of French cookery will share some of their favourite recipes, including boeuf en croûte, vol au vent, salad niçoise, chicken grenobloise, terrine, croquembouche, soufflé and flan. French Food Safari will premiere Thursday 23 June on SBS 1.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Web Série: La Cuisine de Monica

La Cuisine de Monica is a funny and delightful cooking web series, filmed and presented by a sweet French family in Le Mans.

Voici un gâteau pour le régime, le super fondant au chocolat. Retrouvez toutes les recettes ici!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Alliance Française Event: The Existential Piano

The Alliance Française de Melbourne will honour the era of Chopin, George Sand, Liszt, Marie d’Agoult and the Paris Salons at the forthcoming Existential Piano salon.

Presented by musician and 3MBS FM broadcaster David Hood, the evening will encompass words, portraits, photographs and music performance.

When? Friday 29 July 2011, 7pm till 9pm.
Where? Alliance Française, 51 Grey Street, St Kilda. This salon will exceptionally be held in the basement at the Alliance Française, accessible only by stairs.
How much? $15 payable on the night, includes cheese and wine. Bookings are essential via

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SBS Food: Le Far Breton

Kitchen Conversations is an excellent SBS Food podcast series. In this edition, French chef Anthony Sergent of La Niche Café in Fitzroy shares his grandmother’s recipe for Le Far Breton, a traditional cake from Brittany.

To watch Le Far Breton made aux pruneaux (with prunes), see the video below, part of a wonderful French web series qui s’appelle La prochaine fois c’est chez moi. In each video, lasting for only about a minute, people visit each other in their homes to make a favourite traditional dish. (Warning: this series is highly addictive!)


Anthony can also be head on A Table! on SBS Français, discussing pâtisserie, Fitzroy et la Bretagne.

Monday, June 13, 2011

French Club Event: International Club Day

La Trobe will be kicking off next semester with International Club Day, a lunchtime affair in the Agora with manifold clubs promoting their cultures with traditional foods, dress and music.

The French Club will have a stall, resplendent with traditional French pastries. We look forward to seeing you there!

When? Thursday 28 July, 12 to 2:30pm.
Where? The Agora.
Why? To promote the different cultures on campus and meet their representative clubs.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

SBS 2’s Tuesday Night French Films

SBS 2 are unrolling a superb selection of French films this winter — thrillers, comedies, dramas. Here are the next three on the immediate horizon.

9:30 Tuesday 14th June
The Beat My Heart Skipped (2005)
28-year-old Tom is following in the footsteps of his thuggish father, who made his money from dirty, and sometimes brutal, real estate deals. Tom has innate musical talent and is torn between dreams of being a concert pianist and the reality of life as a ruthless debt collector.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

French Restaurant: Breizoz Crêperie

Fitzroy’s Breizoz Crêperie is a sweet, intimate French-run restaurant, whose warm, French-speaking staff provide a wonderful opportunity to rattle off a few words in French (although most of those words will be “chocolat”).

Specialising in this Breton delicacy, Breizoz’s style of crepes are light, delicate and crisp, the benefit of which, of course, is that one can work through one after another splendid concoction.

One of the most tantalising elements of the Breizoz experience is the array of French cider. Full-bodied and uniquely delicious, Breizoz’s selection of traditional cider enhances the restaurant’s cosy and rustic ambience.

The third Wednesday of every month at Breizoz is “French Conversation Evening”, une bonne occasion de rencontrer d’autres qui adorent parler la langue française aussi. A certain level of comptency is expected, il faut essayer de parler.

Located near the corner of Gertrude and Brunswick Streets, this restaurant is conveniently located on La Trobe’s own 86 tram line.

Prices are reasonable; expect to pay $20 to $25 for two dishes along with a cup of cider.

Breizoz’s entire menu is available online. Featured above is the Ratatouille and “Super Complete”. Dish to try: Beurre Sucre!

Friday, June 10, 2011

French Radio: Café Découvertes

Café Découvertes is a warm and engaging French radio series, in which a panel of experts discuss assorted figures (both historial and fictional) from various domains throughout history.

Guests often include historians, journalists and un psychanalyste in the case of the Coco Chanel episode.

Other especially good episodes include L’histoire du véritable d’Artagnan and François Truffaut, l’enfant terrible de la nouvelle vague.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Comédie: Un Gars, Une Fille

A much loved short French comedy series from 1999 to 2003, Un Gars, Une Fille spawned a spin-off québécois and seemingly continues to have a league of French fans today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Les Blogs Politiques

To help detangle France’s complex and fierce political scene in the lead-up to the presidental election, here are some of the French media’s best and most entertaining blogs, each with their own special point of interest.

Le Figaro
Présidentielle 2012: Coulisses de Campagne
Les journalistes du service politique du Figaro raconteront au jour le jour les coulisses de la campagne électorale. Coverage of both right and left players.

Le Monde
Droite(s) Extrême(s)
Deux journalistes au Monde decryptent les populismes de droite. A fascinating exploration of right-wing politics in France. Focusing primarily on le Front National, Droite(s) Extrême(s) offers a detailed analysis of the workings of this increasingly popular party.

Written by an anonymous author, Sarkofrance rigorously examines both Sarkozy’s reign and France’s general state of political affairs. Très bien écrit et captivant!

Le Figaro
Peopolitiquement Vôtre
Deux journalistes du Figaro examinent la vie politique actuelle où (selon eux) l’intérêt public se porterait davantage sur l’apparence et le futile, que sur le fond et le concret. En particulier, ils critiquent les médias et ce qu’il nomme le bling-bling de la politique. Parfois amusant, toujours fascinant!

Monday, June 6, 2011

French Retro Pop: Patricia Kaas’ Mon Mec à Moi

Discovered singing in a club in 1985 by Gérard Depardieu, Patricia Kaas had a series of hits off her first album, Mademoiselle chante..., including “Mon Mec à Moi”.

Patricia Kaas’ debut album
Mademoiselle chante...
Born in 1966 in Lorraine to a French father and German mother, Patricia grew up in Stiring-Wendel, a French commune on the German border, where she spoke only “le Platt”, a German dialect, up till the age of six.

Patricia became best known in France, Germany in Russia. Next year she will release an hommage album to Édith Piaf, Kaas chante Piaf, which will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the legend’s death.

Click “read more” to view les paroles (lyrics), courtesy of

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Affaire DSK: le coup de gueule d’Osez le féminisme

Depuis le début de l’affaire DSK, les réactions d’une partie du monde politique, les analyses de certains journalistes et les commentaires machos que l’on peut lire sur internet choquent nombre de femmes.

Déferlement de blagues sexistes sur la toile, aucun mot pour la plaignante et banalisation des violences sexuelles: c’est ce qui motive le coup de gueule de Thalia Breton, d’Osez le féminisme.

De nombreuses femmes, mais des hommes aussi, ont contacté l’association en exprimant leur désarroi face à cette déferlante d’idées reçues. Via

Image: Marianne, un hebdomadaire français qui combat ce qu’il nomme la pensée unique.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Winter Holidays: French Films

The Alliance Française Film Festival may have come and gone, but some of the finest French films it showcased will be screening over these holidays! Click “read more” for the full list.

Now showing at Cinema Nova & Palace Cinemas
Potiche gives Catherine Deneuve one of her best roles in a decade as a trophy wife-turned-triumphant-factory boss in this sparkling adaptation of a French boulevard-theater play. Deneuve plays Suzanna Pujol, a well-off housewife in thrall to tyrannical husband Robert. When labour trouble erupts at the provincial umbrella factory that Suzanna’s father founded and Robert is taken hostage, Suzanna calls in her communist former lover Babin to negotiate with the workers.

Recette: Macarons au Chocolat avec Chocolatier Christophe Morel

In this delicious and impressive video, chef québécois Stéphane L’Écuyer presents a highly detailed demonstration of how to make macarons with Christophe Morel. Stéphane’s videoblog cuisinaire has a huge abundance of such videos, tout en français. His Tarte au sucre and Profiteroles are also especially good!

On the subject of maracons, the owners of La Belle Miette, a new French pâtisserie in Hardware Lane in Melbourne’s CBD, recently discusssed the art of macaron-making (their speciality), in this short but very delightful SBS French podcast!

For more recettes des macarons en français en ligne, Journal de Femmes has an impressive collection of manifold flavours, caramel au beurre salé and chocolat-orange amongst them.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Web Série: Lolicats on

A cute, funny French kind of web sitcom, Lolicats is hosted by, a wonderful and hugely extensive website — autrement dit, ideal exam procrastination!

The site is quite labrynthine, here are some of its finest offerings:

People: Marion Cotillard et Guillaume Canet: leur idylle en images
Société: Camille Strauss-Kahn: au nom du père
Recettes Faciles: Tarte Caramélisée aux Poires
Mode Vidéo: Leçon de mode: porter les imprimés avec Alix, créatrice de Thomsen
Livres: Spécial printemps: notre top ten livres
Cinéma: Coup de cœur film: Belleville Tokyo

Et n’oubliez pas, bien sûr, la rubrique Astrologie pour lire votre horoscope du jour en français!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

French Club BBQ Wrap-Up

Thanks to the abundance of people who joined us today in the Agora for the French Club BBQ! It turned out to be the most beautiful day and it was particularly lovely to have so many people sign up for club membership!

We look forward to seeing all our wonderful new members at our array of events lined up for Semester 2: French Connection Day, French film screenings on campus, conversation sessions as ever, and much more.

Click “read more” to view all the day’s photos.