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5 French films to watch in December to improve your French

With Christmas around the corner, it is the perfect time to cuddle up on the couch with a French film or two

Voleueses - production still image Pic: Netflix

With December upon us, the time is nigh for both celebrations and recovering on the sofa with a good film. 

Fortunately with a new month comes many new releases in the cinemas and streaming platforms

This month sees France mark the twentieth anniversary of Love Actually with special viewings across the country, as well as the release of a very famous French comedy on Netflix. 

As always, for learners it is best to watch the film in French with French subtitles, but if you are tired after a long day, you can alternate between French audio and English subtitles or vice versa.

When it comes to language learning, immersion is important and every little helps. Similarly, going to the cinema is a great way to boost your skills - it forces you to put your phone away and focus entirely on the film unfolding in front of you. 

Brice de Nice (Brice from Nice) 

This French cult comedy classic is coming to Netflix on December 1. 

Main character Brice - an arrogant, rich surfer hailing from Nice - was created by actor Jean Dujardin in a sketch before being transformed into a film directed by James Huth.

Of course, for those familiar with the Cote d’Azur, there are no surfable waves due to the lack of tide, so Brice must find other ways to entertain himself, and when he runs out of the money fueling his party heavy lifestyle, he is in for a rude awakening.

Je ne suis pas un héros (I’m not a hero) 

This is another one for cinema-lovers - Je ne suis pas un héros is a new film featuring many of France’s biggest stars and is currently being shown in filmhouses.  

It follows the story of Louis, a very nice man working in a lawyer’s office, where nice is not a helpful quality to have.

It takes Louis being misdiagnosed with a fatal illness for his colleagues to finally listen to him, but will they continue to value his opinion when he reveals the truth?

Voleuses (Wingwomen)

Voleuses was recently added to Netflix and has been an instant international success, ranked the most watched film on the streaming platform the week after its release in 86 countries. 

Directed by Mélanie Laurent, the action comedy depicts the importance of female friendship as two best friends - played by Mélanie Laurent and Adèle Exarchopoulos - take on a highly dangerous mission as instructed by the Godmother, played by Isabelle Adjani. 

The international title of the film is Wingwomen, which it can be found under if watching in a country other than France. 

Credit: Netflix press centre

Sauver ou périr (Through the Fire)

Sauver ou périr - titled Through the Fire for international audiences - is based on the true story of a Parisian firefighter who is forced to rebuild his life after being severely burned in a blaze. 

Starring French favourites Pierre Niney and Anaϊs Demoustier, we see how a single event can change someone’s entire life, and how they are then faced with the momentous challenge of rediscovering their true self. 

Photo de Famille (Family Photo)

Another film with some familiar faces, Photo de Famille stars Camille Cottin of Dix Pour Cent fame and follows the story of three estranged siblings who are forced to reunite to organise the care of their grandmother after their grandfather dies. 

It is an emotional rollercoaster with the overriding message of the importance of family and how people can come back together after a long time apart.

And to note…

For those in the mood for a Christmas film, Love Actually is being shown in cinemas across France on Tuesday December 5 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film’s release. 

Most showings will be dubbed in French providing the perfect opportunity to work on your language skills by watching a film you are already very familiar with. 

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