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 Message 1 of 12
13 January 2014 at 8:33pm | IP Logged 
I put this list together last year for Khatzumoto, but I thought somebody here might find something interesting. I know I've mentioned all this stuff a dozen times, but I figure it can't hurt to gather everything in one place.


The mother load of French movies, TV series, graphic novels and games, reviewed by French users. Good starting points are livres/tops and bd/tops. Pick a list, pick an interesting book, check the right-hand column for other user-made lists containing that book and, voilà, you've now got a $300 wish list of stuff you can't resist. Plus tons of user-written reviews (in French) talking about why stuff is cool, with far better spelling and grammar than you're likely to find in the average comment section. And here, let me pick you a few graphic novels to get you started.

If you're learning French, you have access to literally thousands of high-quality graphic novels. To read them online at surprisingly reasonable prices, check out Izneo. Get on their email list; they give lots of stuff away. (Credit to geoffw for discovering this site.)

VPN France
Nearly all digital French media is region protected. VPN France is one of the easier ways to work around this.

French TV in the United States, via broadband. Includes France 2, France 3, France Ô, France 5, a whole pile of political and news channels, a couple of sports channels, and one channel with cartoons around the clock. Customer service is in French.

French movies and TV series with accurate subtitles
It's really hard to find French movies and TV series with accurate subs. Fortunately, other students of French have been here before you, and they've made a list.

Buffy contre les vampires, 7 seasons, plus near-complete fan transcripts
A really excellent dub (even Joss Whedon likes it). And thanks to one dedicated fan, you can now get transcripts for all the early seasons.

Vie de merde
The French version of Every day they publish a half dozen stories of days gone horribly wrong. This is first-rate SRS material: Complete, entertaining stories in just a few sentences, and tons of colloquial vocabulary. Follow this site for a couple of months, feed the good stuff into into your SRS, and you'll give a huge boost to your day-to-day vocabulary.

Sort of like, but in French. Mixes formal, informal and profane vocabulary with wild abandon—and it will teach you a surprising amount about French life. (Thanks to sctroyenne.)

More TV series: Intermediate edition

Very few of these have French subs.

L'Avatar, le dernier maître de l'air. One of the best cartoons of the last decade, and the French dub is top notch. 61 episodes, short enough that you're going to watch one, and good enough that you won't stop.

Castle. Another fine French dub.

Les Revenants. What you do when your dead daughter walks in through the front door, acting as if nothing had ever happened? Slow, creepy and moody, with excellent acting. The dialog is ruthlessly native speed, but with long pauses.

The Quebec version of BBC Planète Terre. Documentaries feature some of the easiest native speech you'll ever hear, and this documentary is absolutely stunning. The Quebec dub has far fewer scientific mistakes than the French dub, but the accent is a neutral international accent.

Tintin. The classic adventures of Tintin, in a surprisingly competent animated adaption. 21 episodes.

Ulysse 31. Ulysses in space! A giant robot cyclops! Angry gods. A seriously cool spaceship. A French 80s classic for your inner 7-year-old.

Honorable mentions:

Code Lyoko. Teenage sci-fi. Some episodes are available legally on YouTube. Go check 'em out.
Tara Duncan. A teenage sorceress. Based on a popular, long-running series of French novels. Not bad at all, if you're into this sort of thing.

More TV Series: Advanced Edition

No French subs (or at least not accurate ones), no mercy, but lots of fun.

Bunny Maloney. Extremely sarcastic French rabbits who pilot a giant flying robot. Cannot be explained; must be watched. Here's a good introduction, which appears to be legal.

Engrenages. Corruption, crime and general dysfunction. The best "gritty" French police show of modern years.

Le Trône de fer. Because Tyrion Lannister's terrific in French, too. An excellent dub.

Do you have a list of your own that you'd like to share?

Edited by emk on 13 January 2014 at 9:36pm

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 Message 2 of 12
13 January 2014 at 9:32pm | IP Logged 
So helpful EMK, thanks. I've creeped on this forum for a while and your posts are incredible helpful.
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 Message 3 of 12
14 January 2014 at 8:39am | IP Logged 
Canal+ has a lot of their online video content available to watch from anywhere in the world. A good place to start is Zapping which is a summary of noteworthy clips from television from the day (news, documentaries, reality, etc). They have a year-end special that's quite well done. It's really good for getting a picture of the various issues, both deep and superficial, that have French people talking. Also, you might discover a really good documentary show from it (or a guilty pleasure reality show - Les Vraies Housewives exists now and apparently you better know who Nabila is). Some of this can be pretty advanced so don't worry if you're missing large chunks (it's really hard to understand a joke in isolation).

A really useful site I just found is Pure Médias by Ozap which is a huge collection of video clips from French television. A really useful feature of this site is the Zapping section which features notable clips from television from the day (like Zapping from Canal+) but with an accompanying article that explains it - really useful for helping learners understand what's so shocking or so funny. A lot of the clips are reality TV drama but I think there's quite a bit to learn from them.
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 Message 4 of 12
14 January 2014 at 11:36am | IP Logged 
le Poudcaste - used to be my
go-to podcast to improve my colloquial speech.

France Inter, France Culture - they have a nice selection of educational podcasts. You
can't listen to the extensive archive, but some installments can be found on p2p. For a
sample go to their page or check out my crappy internet drive

Les Guignols de l'Info and Made in Groland - satirical shows, quite difficult because
of word play, funny voices and subject matter (current events). At least know what they
are because they are a part of French pop culture

For the so inclined, for example has a wide selection of audiobooks in
French. They are mostly of good quality, with pleasant and engaging readers. If you
want to read along, make sure you grab an unabridged version (texte intégral/complet).

I second emk's recommendation to check out dubbed shows. The dubbing is of excellent
quality, often with voices matched perfectly. I had no problem watching dubs even if I
had seen the original (Sopranos, Heroes, Dexter). They can be used by intermediate
learners, because the speech is clearer and slower than in regular French shows.

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 Message 5 of 12
14 January 2014 at 11:00pm | IP Logged 
What a great list!

I find that I can often follow a dubbed series without subtitles better than I can an original French show with English subitles. Here are my additions, with synopses borrowed from the official pages, or fan sites :

TV Shows

Kaamelott (Six seasons)

Kaamelott est une série TV française humoristique et dramatique de fantaisie historique, créée par Alexandre Astier et Jean-Yves Robin.
Kaamelott s’inspire de la légende arthurienne, qui se passe sur l'île de Bretagne à la chute de l'Empire Romain, sur laquelle règne le Roi Arthur en son château de Kaamelott, entouré de ses Chevaliers de la Table ronde. Loin d’être fidèles, braves et héroïques, ceux-ci sont désordonnés, couards ou sanguinaires, et parfois même traîtres. Bien mal épaulé, Arthur peine à mener à bien sa quête du Graal.

Clip: The Purifier (with subs)
Sources: Streaming (no subs); boxed sets with subtitles on eBay and Amazon; transcripts
Notes: This series is just fun. There's a lot of slang, and I still need the subtitled version for the show.

Real Humans (Äkta människor) (Swedish with French dub) (Two seasons)

The series takes place in Sweden, where the use of consumer-level androids is spreading. The androids, known as hubots, are used as servants, workers, and company, but as their programming has got more and more advanced, they have started to develop feelings. While some people embrace this new technology, others are frightened by what can happen when humans are replaced as workers, company, parents, and even lovers.

Bandes-annonce: Real Humans
Sources: streaming. no subs
Notes: This is one of the best sci-fi series I've seen.   

Nicolas le Floch (Five seasons)

Paris, 1761. Brilliant young Parisian police commissioner Nicolas Le Floch works under Monsieur de Sartine, the Royal Lieutenant General of Police. Louis XV's kingdom is plagued by conspiracies and murders. With the help of his faithful subordinate Bourdeau, Nicolas solves mysterious disappearances and sorts out awkward scandals. From seedy taverns to the muffled hallways of Versailles, from brothels to the Châtelet prisons, he tracks and stakes out suspects, questions witnesses, gathers evidence, foils traps, and unveils plotters. Nicolas Le Floch plunges viewers into the mysteries of 18th Century Paris, a world teeming with crime, debauchery and theft.

Episode: L'énigme des Blancs-Manteuaux (available through Jan 20, 2014) (with subs)
Sources: I'm still looking!
Notes: Thanks to Renaissancemedi for posting about this on her log! I loved the above episode, and hope to find more.

Maison Close (Two seasons)

Paris, 1871. Dans un bordel de luxe, trois femmes tentent d’échapper à la servitude imposée par les hommes. La très jeune Rose débarque à Paris à la recherche de sa mère, ancienne prostituée. Elle est piégée par un rabatteur et enrôlée de force au Paradis. Véra a trente-cinq ans. Elle sait que la fin de sa carrière de prostituée est proche. Elle mise tout sur le Baron Du Plessis, son principal client et le seul en mesure de racheter sa dette. Hortense est la patronne du Paradis. Elle doit tenir ses filles et résister aux pressions d’un voyou des faubourgs qui lui réclame de l’argent.

Bande-annonce: Maison Close (NSFW)
Sources: streaming (no subs); boxed sets on Amazon with subs
Notes: The show is kind of cliched and hard to follow without subs. I've had to read the synopsis on Wikipedia to follow along! HBO has started on an American remake.

Utopia (British with French dub) (one season)

"Utopia" est une bande dessinee legendaire sur laquelle plane le mystere. Mais quand Ian Becky Grant et Wilson un petit groupe de personnes qui n'avaient jusqu'alors aucun lien se retrouvent chacun en possession d'un exemplaire original du manuscrit leurs vies basculent soudainement et brutalement. Immediatement pris pour cible par une impitoyable organisation meurtriere connue sous le nom du Network les membres du groupe terrifies n'ont plus qu'une seule solution s'ils veulent survivre: courir

bande-annonce: Utopia
sources: streaming
Notes: I only watched the first episode, but it looks exciting and addictive. It's strange that I can find French dubs of BBC shows easier than I can the original.

Un Village Français (Five seasons)

Juin 1940. Villeneuve, village du centre de la France, est bouleversé par l'arrivée de l'armée allemande. Hortense, Jean, Raymond, Marie étaient alors des Françaises et des Français ordinaires... ils deviendront patriotes, traîtres, collaborateurs ou résistants. Aux règles imposées par l'occupation allemande répondent celles de la désobeissance civile ou de la clandestinité. On a peur, on a faim, on se déchire au nom des valeurs et d'une certaine idée de la France... ou parfois simplement par amour.

Bande-annonce: Saison 1
Sources: boxed sets on Amazon are a bit expensive; I'm still looking for other options
Notes: This series is on the top of my wish-list; it gets great reviews & looks fascinating

Other US Sources

Netflix Streaming - has Engrenages and Braquo, but no other French tv shows I can find. Has a very small collection of French films to stream.

Hulu Plus - Has the Criterion collection on streaming if you like classic films. It's good to have for the Super Challenge!

Amazon Streaming - Has a really bad collection of French films. Not worth it, though it's included free with Amazon Prime.

Mubi - A new site that curates thirty movies at a time. It has lots of classics and modern international movies. It has great potential, and I'm giving it a try for a year ($36), but it's still too early to tell if it will be a great resource or not.

Edited by kanewai on 14 January 2014 at 11:04pm

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 Message 6 of 12
15 January 2014 at 9:07pm | IP Logged 
Oh! One I forgot:
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 Message 7 of 12
15 January 2014 at 10:00pm | IP Logged 
Deutsche Welle, yes that's right- Deutsche Welle, the German broadcaster, has a series of "radionovelas" in French called Learning By Ear- en français. Each series has 10 episodes lasting between 10 and 12 minutes. The language isn't overly complicated and it's very conversational. Of course, these radio plays are intended for Africa, so this is standard French but without a metropolitan French accent. There are 41 series of 10 episodes each, so the math works out to about 70 hours of content.

Each episode is downloadable in mp3 format and has a pdf transcript. I started with the African Fables series in Portuguese. The French version is Je vous raconte une histoire ? – Contes africains pour une culture de la paix and if you want the English version for L/R: Shall I tell you something? African fables for a culture of peace.

The series cover a wide range of topics from football, health, business, the environment, migration, etc.

The advantages of DW's LBE series are free and legal downloads in mp3 and the availability of transcripts in both TL and English. This is a wonderful, free, resource. You'll have to do a little work to download episodes and transcripts individually but you can make your own bilingual texts with audio by copying and pasting into a two column, one row word document table. Hope this helps someone. It was a big help to me when I started learning Portuguese.

Edited by iguanamon on 15 January 2014 at 10:05pm

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 Message 8 of 12
16 August 2014 at 11:41am | IP Logged 
Hello ! I hope I'm not "off topic", and sorry for my bad English :

Esmaofficiel on vimeo
ESMA is a french art school. On vimeo, you can find short animated films. Many videos have English subtitles (click on "CC").
On vimeo too, I like this video of Supinfocom Arles : A la française, with ckicken at the royal court of Versailles (no lyrics but funny).
It's a website of French audiovisual archives (no subtiles).
But I particular like this other website, "Les Tops de l'INA", the best videos. Two categories : "la grande histoire" (the great history) and "les petites histoires" (the little stories).

To see films or documentaries seven days after the broadcast on Arte, a franco-german TV. I hope it's available for you...

Les céréales du dimanche matin
French version of "Saturday morning breakfast cereal".

Edited by Milla on 16 August 2014 at 11:44am

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