Martyrs

Ohlala, où commencer avec ce film? C’était difficile à voir, et je ne sais pas s’il y a quelqu’un qui l’a vraiment vu en entier. Je ne pouvais pas regarder certaines parties du film, parce que c’était vraiment dégoutant et cruel. Mais ce qui était intéressant, c’était la structure du film et le fait que c’était divisé en deux.

martyrs-xlargeJe ne vais pas donner des spoilers, mais ce film n’était pas exactement ce que vous anticipez. Oui, il y a beaucoup de violence; oui, c’est hyper cruel et horrible; mais il y a quelque chose qui est totalement différent des autres films de ce genre. Je ne veux pas dire plus, mais l’histoire est simple: deux femmes cherchent la revanche contre une famille qui a torturé une des femmes quand elle était petite, mais cette femme est hantée par un monstre, et l’autre femme s’en doute que c’était la famille qui l’a fait…

Et franchement, j’aimais mieux la première partie que la deuxième. En général, j’aime les films de revanche, et j’aimais la relation entre les deux femmes et le cauchemar de la vie de la femme dérangée. Cette première partie du film m’a touché pour deux raisons: 1) le pouvoir des femmes et comment elles trouvent leur propre pouvoir, et 2) que même la revanche ne donne pas de paix, parce qu’il y a toujours le monstre qui la hante depuis son enfance.

La deuxième partie du film a changé complètement le thème du film. Je comprends ce que le réalisateur voulait dire à propos de la capacité des gens d’être cruels et la capacité des gens de souffrir, et j’aimais bien la fin, mais c’était moins amusant – en fait, pas du tout amusant, et le message de la première partie était plus forte, même si c’est grâce à la deuxième partie que le film est si connu.

En tout cas, c’était intéressant. C’était un film important, mais franchement je ne veux jamais plus le revoir!

Comment apprendre l’anglais aux enfants?

While it seems like everyone around me has already been contacted by their schools, I am still waiting to hear something from mine. It won’t make any difference if it’s today or if it’s a month from now, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not anxious to find out!

I’m thinking more and more about the job that we have been hired to do. It goes without explaining that I am super stoked, but at times I get a little bit anxious. What will my classes be like? Will they be as excited to learn English as I am to teach it? How do I make learning it fun? How do I prepare for this?

Reading through other assistants’ blogs, I am gleaning some tips here and there about the best and worst parts of the job but it seems like the consensus is that you won’t know much until you’re there. For one assistant, their class was divided into small groups and they worked with a different group each class period; and at a different school they were in charge of the entire class. How you run the class will differ based on how the main teacher divides it up. “Assistant” could be a misnomer.

I worked as a Supplemental Instructor for French for three years. We were not allowed to call ourselves tutors, but that’s really what we were. I attended class with my students and then held three hours of out-of-class sessions each week. I did not teach new material, but I was available to help clarify concepts, to help with homework, and to most of the time re-teach the class. I created mini-lesson plans and printed off hundreds of worksheets over the course of those three years. However, I never had a group of more than ten students, and we all spoke English.

So, I have some experience that will help me when I go to France, but for the most part it will be a new experience for me and a chance to learn how to teach English to non-English speakers. I read one blog where the assistant learned that teaching was not for her. I don’t think that will be the case for me, but I am excited to learn what does and doesn’t work when teaching English.

I read our job described as focused on facilitating conversation in English through activities and showing them our culture. That’s so vague, I’m not sure what to expect! Will we be doing grammar? Every foreign language class I’ve taken has focused more on grammar than anything else, but the method is completely different in the US than it is in Europe, I’ve heard. If we are not teaching grammar, then what do we do if our students don’t even have a grasp of the basics? Since I will be in primary school, I am imagining that that will be the case. So where do we start with teaching them?

On that note, what and how do we prepare? I read a recommendation that we bring photos and things related to our national holidays and how we celebrate them, and I imagine we will go over vocabulary related to that, but other than organizing American-y things, how do I prepare? When I think about this, I start to feel so overwhelmed. Any tips would be appreciated. I want to prepare as much material as I can before I arrive in France so that maybe I won’t be quite as overwhelmed.

Sheitan

If you’re a fan of French movies, you’ve probably seen Paris through the eyes of Amélie or the countryside through the lenses of Le fils de l’épicier. But what you haven’t seen is Vincent Cassel in Sheitan.

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Like dark comedic horror masterpieces? Well, this is the movie for you! If there’s anything you won’t forget about this movie, it’s Vincent Cassel’s charming smile!

Not only does it have an engrossing plot and an eerie mastery of atmosphere, but the cinematography is something to write home about, too.

Unfortunately, it was just removed from Netflix (everyone who watched it decided they never needed to watch another movie again, because they had reached the apex of cinema, so Netflix took it away to keep it’s membership), but if you can find it, I give it a hearty recommendation!

Hopefully this is the kind of ‘welcome to France’ I have to look forward to in September!!!

三宅純 Stolen from Strangers

Jun Miyake is a Japanese composer and trumpeter. He must be a francophile, because several of his songs are in French – and so is his website! Actually, the only exposure I have to him is from his album Stolen from Strangers, which is all creepy and atmospheric with surprisingly strong pop sensibility. Check him out.

http://junmiyake.com/

Le passé, le présent, et le futur

With my fate to be determined in one month, I thought I would reflect on my past and try to deviner le futur a little bit, or at least daydream a little.

In September 2011, I began what was to be a one semester study abroad in Orléans, France. At my university, we had limited choices – it was either a really expensive program in the south, the middle-of-nowhere in Quebec, or this little town in the Loire Valley famous for Jeanne d’Arc. Naturally, I chose Orléans without hesitation for several reason:

a) its proximity to Paris and other places due to its location in the center of France

b) apparently the accent is the “purest” in all of France

However, problems quickly arose as they always do. There was no availability at the consulate . I remember everything about the day when I tried to make an appointment (except what day it was apparently). I clicked, refreshed, clicked, refreshed, ad infinitum. Nothing. That sinking feeling hit me, and I thought “how am I going to tell my dad?” It was my own fault after all for not making the appointment further in advance. I asked a friend, “okay, I might not be able to go to France; recommend me something to listen to to bring my spirits up”. So I listened to Beck’s Sea Change, which helped a little to quell the stone that had dropped into my stomach. I called my French professor who is a magician (are you watching closely?). She called, lied about who she was (the most believable lies always have a grain of truth though!), and magicked my friend and I “appointments” with “Jean”. Yes, we were told to go without appointments and ask for “Jean”. No last name.

We left at 1am for our 9:10am appointment, arriving at 6am and expecting to be jumped by a shady Frenchman named Jean in the parking lot. As it turns out, the French consulate in Atlanta has the most lax security I’ve ever seen. They let us in sans rendez-vous, and when we passed through the metal detector were told to continue without checking our bags when it beeped.

At the consulate, our hopes were squashed as we saw the consulate worker make someone cry and suck the hope out of another who, upon being told that he would need a new passport, sat back down with vacant eyes.

So yeah, we were scared. When he called for the next person, I went up, gave my information, was asked penetrating questions, had to be given a napkin to dry my sweaty palms, and may have gotten this “Jean” in trouble. Enfin, I sat down. I made it! My friend, however, casually strolled up, said “same as him” and was done in minutes whereas mine lasted fifteen!

After we left, I received a call from the consulate asking us to come back and would not tell us why when we asked. I think I could have fainted! It turns out they had not given me back enough money when I paid, hahaha!

On our way back, we had a sobering moment when I realized that Atlanta is EST and we were actually one hour late for our “appointment” and somehow we were able to be accepted. But we never found out who Jean was!

As it came to be, in October I had a moment with a friend, Imjeong, who told me “You are going to come back to France. I can tell”; and later that month an experience that changed my life and made me decide to stay for another semester (which I have written about in this blog, when I went on an impromptu trip to Normandy). If not for this moment with my friend and the trip, I would have gone back in December and probably would not have realized that what I want to do is to travel through teaching English abroad.

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So that’s le passé, now what about le futur?

Well, right now I am living only to hear the news in one month. I have a semblance of a job doing consulting work for a software company, but it’s not what I want to do. I put the académies of Lyon and Orléans-Tour as my preferences, the former a city that I never visited and the latter as a nostalgic choice that I could not not put. While I was there, I visited la région Centre, Paris, Normandy, Bordeaux, and Nice/Monaco. I want to be somewhere I have not been but is close to places I love, like Lyon and its proximity to Nice. I would love to be placed in that académie, for another reason: my dad has the chance to be a part of a work visit to Geneva, which is just a stone’s throw away from Lyon and anywhere in that académie.

I’ve also thought about my back-up plans, if I am not accepted into the TAPIF program. I have already been in contact with programs that send English-speakers to Korea, China, and Japan. I have been fascinated with Korea and Korean culture (and food! the most important incentive in the world!) for quite some time now, but I would equally love to go to the Canton region of China if possible. Regardless of if I get the assistant teaching job in France, I will go to these places. 

This year, France! Next year, Asia!

L’horreur, l’horreur…!

I love horror movies, because of all the film genres you can never get a bad horror movie. Either it’s great and scares you, or it’s bad to the point of comedy. You can’t lose!

I’ve been looking up French horror movies on Netflix, but have so far only seen two. I’ll start by talking about Les yeux sans visage, an old black and white movie that isn’t scary to a modern audience but is very well-shot with beautiful cinematography and an intriguing story.

It’s not on Netflix though.

To my instant queue however, I recently added Mutants, Sheitan, Ils, and Vertige. I’ve heard good things, so I’m excited.

Earlier this week I watched La horde on Netflix, a zombie movie about a couple of cops who infiltrate a drug dealer’s hideout to avenge their friend’s death. Unfortunately, a zombie apocalypse arrives at the same time! It sounds comical, but it’s a really good zombie film with an interesting ending!

I don’t want to ramble on about great horror movies I’ve seen (because everyone knows the great ones), but if anyone has seen the Spanish film [REC] and then the American remake Quarantine, then you know what a terrible remake the latter is. I hesitantly put on Quarantine 2: The Terminal last night, expecting a bad movie, but it turned out to be a highly interesting sequel, much better than the first. It has the typical plot holes and facepalm moments of any horror movie, but they are fewer and further between than usual. It’s a really interesting setting (come on, a behind-the-scenes look at an airplane terminal! how cool is that!) and interesting characters who make for the most part good decisions.

[REC]3: Genesis is on Netflix, so I’ll be looking forward to watching that, though I haven’t seen the second one.

If you know any good horror movie suggestions, let me know! Even if they aren’t on Netflix, I’m certain I can find them somewhere.

Les émotifs anonymes

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Franchement, c’est un des films le plus mignon que j’ai vu! Les deux personnages principaux ont des problèmes de confiance. Ils sont des émotifs – elle, une chocolatière; lui, le patron d’un fabricant de chocolat. Les deux sont tellement mignons dans toutes leurs fautes, et le film était parfait pour cette fête romantique. :3

L’auberge espagnole

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Depuis longtemps tout le monde me dit qu’il faut regarder ce film. Enfin je l’ai fait. C’est bien que je le voie maintenant, parce que ça me rappelle trop mon séjour en France! C’est vrai, c’est un film qui s’agit d’un français qui fait un échange d’Erasmus à Barcelone, et moi, j’étais pas dans Erasmus, mais ça m’en rappelle quand même!

C’est bien de voir encore Barcelone aussi qui est sans doute la plus belle ville que j’ai vue en Europe.

Ce que j’adore le plus, c’est le début et la fin du film et comment le réalisateur les rapproche. Quand vous voyez le film, vous comprendrez ce que je veux dire.

C’est au but un film sur le passage à l’âge adulte, mais ce qui le rend exceptionnel, c’est que ce n’est pas un film typique de ce genre.

Mais d’une façon je préférais voir un remake, parce que les styles sont un peu démodés (trop années quatre-vingt-dix, vous savez), mais quand même c’est bien, et il y a Audrey Tautoi qui est toujours jolie.

Scènes de ménages

J’abandonne la cherche pour MasterChef France! Aaahhh!!! Enfin j’accepte que c’est inaccessible aux américains, sauf utiliser un serveur proxy.

MASTER-CHEF

Donc j’arrive à Scènes de Ménages, une mini-émission (voilà, une minimission! l’Académie Française, vous pouvez me payer quand j’arrive en France) qui est en tous points excentrique et totalement dingue.

Je l’ai regardée tous les soirs quand j’étais en France, et franchement je suis fier (et surpris) de dire que je comprends encore (vraiment ça fait six mois depuis que je n’entends pas du tout le français; donc je suis très fier).

C’est composé des petits sketches de trois couples ‘quirky’.

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D’abord vous avez Marion et Cédric qui représentent les jeunes adultes.

Représentant ce que je dirais au chagrin de mon papa ‘les vieux’, vous avez Liliane et José, un couple de quarante à cinquante ans. La dynamique entre eux est vraiment amusant à voir.

Finalement, les anciens, Huguette et Raymond, franchement mon couple préféré. Ils sont de l’âge où on a la flemme de sortir. On s’ennuie, mais pas eux! Ils s’embetent, ils font des betises, et je pense que je vais mourir de rire chaque fois. Parfois on a l’impression qu’ils ne s’aiment pas parce que les blagues sont parfois méchantes, mais sur la fin il s’aiment encore.

C’est une comédie tellement drole, un peu lascive, mais de plus en plus selon mes expériences je trouve que c’est proche à la réalité des couples français, et c’est pour ça que c’est le plus amusant.

Je vous encourage de la regarder. A mon avis, c’est mieux qu’un podcast!