French in Action (1987– )

TV Series  -   -  Documentary
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This educational series teaches the French language and profiles cultural attributes. No attempt is made to use English in presenting skills and concepts.

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Title: French in Action (1987– )

French in Action (1987– ) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Series cast summary:
Pierre J. Capretz
(1 episode)
Valérie Allain ...
 Mireille (1 episode)
Charles Mayer ...
 Robert (1 episode)
Virginie Contesse ...
 Marie-Laure (1 episode)
Jean-Claude Cotillard ...
 L'homme en noir et le Mime (1 episode)
Julie Arnold ...
 Cécile (1 episode)
Patrice Bachelot ...
 Jean-Luc (1 episode)
Geoffroy Boutan ...
 Vendeur (1 episode)
Philippe De Brugada ...
 Chauffeur de Camion (1 episode)
Muhammad Camara ...
 Ousmane (1 episode)
Philippe Casidanus ...
 Marionnettiste (1 episode)
Antonio Cauchois ...
 Tonton Guillaume (1 episode)
Colette Ripert ...
 Tante Georgette (1 episode)
Etienne Draber ...
 Vendeur (1 episode)
Jean-François Delacour ...
 Le Maître d'Hôtel (1 episode)
Marguerite Foulon ...
 Madame Courtois (1 episode)
André Haber ...
 Monsieur Courtois (1 episode)
Charlotte Kady ...
 Ghislaine (1 episode)
Jean-François Kopf ...
 Jean-Denis (1 episode)
Chrystelle Labaude ...
 Concierge (1 episode)
Franck de la Personne ...
 Hubert (1 episode)
Bernard Larmande ...
 Serveur (1 episode)
Olivier Lebeau ...
 Serveur (1 episode)
Riton Liebman ...
 Jean-Pierre Bourdon (1 episode)
Serge Medot ...
 Georges (1 episode)
Michel Modo ...
 Oncle Victor (1 episode)
Amélie Pick ...
 Annick (1 episode)
Dane Porret ...
 Garçon de café (1 episode)
Rosine Proust ...
 Madame Belleau (1 episode)
François Rostain ...
 Vendeur (1 episode)
Aurélie Serve ...
 Yvonne (1 episode)
Pascal Talleux ...
 Loueur de Voitures (1 episode)
Yves Thuillier ...
 Jean-Michel (1 episode)
Fabienne Tricottet ...
 Colette (1 episode)
Serge Vincent ...
 Monsieur Belleau (1 episode)
Samuel Zaccharias ...
 Le vieux professeur (1 episode)


This educational series teaches the French language and profiles cultural attributes. No attempt is made to use English in presenting skills and concepts. Written by Anonymous

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(52 episodes)


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Did You Know?


According to cast member Charles Mayer, the entire series was filmed in Paris during the summer of 1985. See more »

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User Reviews

Would you like to actually speak French?
23 March 2003 | by (Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

Most of the comments posted so far seem to concentrate on "the babe," and those of you reading who don't know anything about the series will be ill-served by them. This is an instructional series, developed at Yale University, for learning French as it is really spoken. It is not "baby" French, nor is it vacation tourist French. If your goal is to actually be able to have a real conversation with real people, this series is (to my knowledge) without peer, and has become the model for current best-of-breed audio/visual courses for second language acquisition. It's in use at hundreds of high schools, colleges and universities in the U.S., and similar materials for other languages have been developed using "French in Action" as a model and a goal.

There's a lot of use of familiar (as opposed to vulgar) language, spoken in appropriate situations at normal native-speaker rates. After the first of the 52 episodes, you won't hear a word of English. Language is introduced at quite a good clip, but always in a situational context that allows you to figure out more-or-less what's going on. It's not necessarily a strategy which is comfortable for many learners - it's much more reassuring to be able to learn with the language broken up into grammatical "topics" which can be checked off in a day's time, or a week's. Unfortunately, most people won't be able to speak at a reasonable level after using a strategy like that. Without hearing lots of language, and producing lots of language, you'll never make it to your goal, unless your goal is to simply check off a language requirement on the way to a degree. If your goal is to be able to shoot the breeze with French speakers in a situation where the topic is not going to be limited to what a lame beginner you are, there are no better materials available.

One criticism of the materials in other comments is that the viewer must speak French before being able to understand the tapes. Not true. What is needed is a tolerance for "swimming" in partial understanding, and that's going to be the case in learning a second language for many, many years. A second criticism is that the materials are expensive. Yes and no... to buy them is costly, but they are all available free online whenever you'd like to see them from the Annenberg/CPB website if you have a reasonably fast internet connection. The associated textbook, which will enrich your learning experience immeasurably if you want to succeed, is quite reasonably priced, if compared to other textbooks, rather than airport books. (It's as well-structured for serious independent study as it is for a classroom setting, by the way.)

Over the years, I've studied 5 foreign languages formally, in contexts ranging from intensive classes of two weeks, to 8 years of classroom courses, and in addition, have gotten to the "please/thank you/may I have ..." level in a dozen others. The "French in Action" tapes are the best instructional materials I've ever seen.

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