My dear francophiles, francovorous and francophageous, something curious is happening. In this time of crisis and of confinement, people, here in America, want to speak French. I know, it’s really bizarre but it seems to be a fact…
More and more Americans are taking French lessons. My ex is a French teacher at the Los Angeles Alliance Française, and she never stops giving classes to more and more people (online, of course). Including a big Hollywood star. No, do not insist, I can’t reveal her name… and she’s telling me her colleagues are as busy as she is.
Another sign of this new attraction for our language is the success of all the online French-Speaking events in the U.S.. There are a lot of them right now. We regularly talk about these online events on Rendez-vous d’Amérique. In the next episode, we’re talking about the Animation First festival, which is dedicated to French animated movies and organized by the French Institute Alliance Française in New York. Also, in the last episode, we talked about My French Film Festival, a festival of French movies streaming directly to your computer (via TV5MONDE Cinema On Demand or on the festival website). And most of these events are doing really well in terms of audience in America.
Why such an interest for French-speaking events or for learning French in the U.S. today? Well, the first reason is that we simply have way more time on our hands than we used to. We’re all staying home way more than we used to before the craziness started. So, some people are putting this new free time at use. Some are gardening, other baking or learning French… Yes, that’s one of the reasons, we can’t deny it, but I think there is more to it.
We need to broaden our horizons. When we’re stuck at home, we can’t travel, everything seems small, walls are closing up on us. What better than learning a new language to push back the walls? What better than to discover a culture we didn’t know through its art to explode our limitations? People today need more than what they can get easily. They want to discover other things, to hear other languages. What better than movies, tv shows, plays, or music for that.
You need a proof? Look at the success of Lupin on Netflix. 70 million viewers for a TV series in French with a French character nobody knew beyond France’s borders and with a French star. It’s huge. It proves that something is happening.
At TV5MONDE, we’ve been fighting forever to show that French-speaking art and entertainment can conquer the world, the vitality of our network is a proof of that. OK, that also means we have competition now. We’re not the only one offering French-speaking films or TV shows. That’s OK, we can deal with a little competition. Because it’s good to see that we were right from the beginning, French-speaking art and entertainment are and have always been universal.
To learn more about the Animation First Film Festival, and other virtual French cultural events in America, tune in to Rendez-vous d’Amérique on TV5MONDE USA. Click here for more information.
Exploring cultural diversity online and in-person, Rendez-vous d'Amérique invites you on a journey to discover Francophone culture in America. Your host on this experience is Didier Allouch - reporter, cinephile, and a familiar face on the red carpet. Click here to learn how you can subscribe to TV5MONDE USA and never miss an episode!