veraverorum replied to your post “veraverorum replied to your post “veraverorum replied to your…”
Maybe we should ask Tag if they too think it’s a French thing or not XD
Um, thecutestscribeoferebor, we were wondering… What is your opinion, as someone who is French, do French people find French media, movies, books and such, as peculiar as everyone else seems to?
what do you mean peculiar?
if you mean boring as shit, yeah?XD (okay, no, that’s my opinion)(though it’s a bit of a joke that a lot of French novels and films are over intellectual to the point of being boring)
hmm, maybe that’s it…?
All the weirdest things always seem to come from French movies/books. Does it seem odd because we aren’t French or do they enjoy these things?
Do you have examples though? Because there’s two types of French media, roughly.
On the one hand, you have Proust and Godard level of things: Highly intellectual, it’s those “art for the sake of art” things and we often like to make fun of these. They are not easily accessible to the spectator, and are often slow and difficult to understand. Some people greatly enjoy them though, and are as fanatic about it as I could be about Tolkien’s work. But also a lot of people just make fun of it.
Then, there’s the less heavy stuff, like “bienvenue chez les ch’tit”, or “ls visiteurs”. We have a certain tradition of humoristic films and these are usually widely enjoyed, though at the same time, they are criticised by intellectuals because their humour is usually very… slapstick I guess you could say?
So, tldr: yeah, there’s stuff made by French People that we can’t stand either…XD
Hi, sorry to hijack the question but as a French native now living in Ireland and teaching French there, I found it very interesting…
I don’t know if that’s exactly the answer you’re looking for, but I find that there is indeed a difference in the way French works (especially films) are made and perceived compared to English-speaking works (UK and US for instance).
First thing is : the ratings. Something that would be rated 16 in Ireland for instance (which is usually the same rating as in England, and I think roughly the same as in the US) would reach a mere 12 in France. The (usual) reason ? French movies/shows are much more casual with nudity (and swearing as well).
I think it might be one of the reasons you find French movies so weird. I mean, I know that whenever I show some of my students a French movie, the nudity (and, sometimes, the swearing) really weirds them out.
There’s also differences in the pacing, and in the way stories are constructed. So yeah, basically, you’re used to very different things than we are (even on your TVs, though I don’t know where you OPs are from, but like in Ireland we get British TVs and I find it very different most of the time)
Now, personnally, I’m not a big fan of French movies. Tagath hit right with their classification : either very deep artsy work or big slapstick comedies. None of these usually work for me, though sometimes I’ll find something that will.
I don’t know if I answered your question, and sorry again for interrupting, it’s just something I really like investigating myself…
I’d be interested in examples too. I mean, I know nothing about French movies, but French books don’t look especially weird to me.
I mean, there are some very cool and very weird French or French-Belgian things, like Les Shadoks or Téléchat or some very oniric comics like Philémon. But they’re the exception, not the rule, and in any country you can find weird things if you search for them.
French government is all about protecting the french film industry because of the cultural exception, but everytime I go to the movies, watch the trailers and there comes a boring film that you’ve seen the entire plot in 1 minute30 seconds, you’re right, that’s a french film. I don’t watch tv, I never watch french series because they are so bad ! How is it possible in such a country to have such lousy uninteresting television and movies ? There is no script, no witty lines, no original plot, the actors are horrible, I mean it, semi-pro TV series are better.
Of course there are some exceptions, but for one Kaamelott how many Pause-Café do you have to suffer through, and don’t even talk to me about Scènes de Ménage I’ll choke a puppy in my rage. The last good french movie I saw was Asterix and Obelix : Mission Cléopatre, eons ago, not exactly a rival to the simplicity and complexity of a Pan’s Labyrinth.
Let’s face it it’s like that in other medias like comics, how many Lanfeust for one Mytho ?
Let me bore everyone for a minute
There used to be scriptwriters for the cinema in France, ones like Michel Audiard, for example.
Then came the 70s and the Nouvelle Vague movement, of young filmmakers (the likes of Jean-Luc Godard) who wanted to be rid of the studios and their demands and brought a lot of technical innovations, new ways of filming and new ideas with them (which was all well and good, since the Nouvelle Vague movement later inspired great American filmmakers like one Steven Spielberg). One of these ideas is the notion of the “author” of a film, which according to the artists of the Nouvelle Vague, is none other than the director of the film — as in, not the scripwriter, not the filming crew, not the studios. Which is an arguable point of view, but anyway that idea stuck for good; the downside of it is that it took away the importance of a scriptwriter and the fact that a scriptwriter is also an author. Most Nouvelle Vague artists tended to make without a scritpwriter anyway, so they could really claim the parternity of the film for themselves.
Until today when a French filmmaker wants to make a film, he tends to write it himself (that is, when it’s not a huge “blockbuster” stupid comedy thing that are generally commands from producers). When a person who only writes scripts wants his scripts turned into a film, he generally has to do it himself. Problem is, even if there would be people good at both, those are two different jobs that require different skills, and generally you can have one without having the other.
The other thing that I generally don’t like about French films is that they don’t want to tell a story. They don’t build characters, they generally throw psychological archetypes and explore their neuroses, they don’t have a climax, they don’t have a satisfying ending, and most of them are pretentious without much substance. It’s okay not wanting to tell a story and try for something different, the problem is that nowadays the “different” in the French films tends to be all the same and repetitive and boring (because we don’t have good, innovative, intesting scriptwriters that are praised for their work as scriptwriters, so they just feed off things that have been made before, it’s the same model repeted all over that has been depleted of all its meaning).
One of my favourite contemporary French filmmakers is Jacques Audiard, with films like De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté, Sur mes lèvres and Un prophète because they’re high-brow but with substance and without being pretentious (I heard that his last film, De rouille et d’os, kind of jumped the shark - or the orca, hahaha - and actually was a bit pretentious but I haven’t seen it). To me he’s one of the few actually trying to tell a story with his films, and not one we’ve seen over and over and over with the same archetypes — but his father was Michel Audiard, one of the greatest scriptwriters of the 60s before the Nouvelle Vague hit and when scriptwriters were actually considered important so maybe this explains that; Jacques Audiard is probably an exception.
We generally tend not to have middle-ground films in France either, intelligent mainstream as I call it, not too high-brow but not too dumb either. Although maybe that’s changing because I’ve seen Intouchables with François Cluzet and Omar Sy and thought that was actually good, and the fact that people went massively to see it means that the public is starting to crave something new in that department I guess.
As for French literature, I haven’t read a good book written by a French writer in a very long time. Recent and wildly popular books such as L’élégance du hérisson just gave me fits of rage, they’re mostly appallingly bad and I don’t know where it comes from; my personal opinion used to be that in French literature today there’s too much nepotism and journalists pretending to be writers (again, two wildly different jobs), but I don’t know anymore. Again, the problem probably dates back to the 70s.
Bear in mind that for all the talks of the French about Republic and atheism, France is still a deeply Catholic and royalist country (even if France itself might not be aware of that) and thus believing in strict hierarchy. People tend not to put authority in question, and when something is high-brow and pretentious, they don’t meet a lot of critique because people tend not to challenge it for fear of being called stupid or illiterate (I usually say that’s why in Top Chef France the team challenges always work better than in the US Top Chef; once the people in the team recognize the figure of authority, i.e. the better cook, they don’t question it and work under their orders very efficiently — the brigade de cuisine is, after all, a French invention. In the US Top Chef there’s always fights to be top dog on the team and people want to do their own thing; invidually, they shine, but in a team it tends to be more chaotic. “Self-made man” is a myth that’s extremely opposed to French sensitivity; you can’t just grab authority, it has to be given, conceded to you to be recognized and accepted. That’s what I think about French mentality anyway).
I don’t even know what point I was making anymore but yeah, main point of tl;dr : we don’t really have middle-range/intelligent mainstream stuff in France and it’s a shame, but it’s probably changing as we speak (I hope).