I adore the evenings at home with my new French host family in the south of France. It’s a great way to end a day of working hard on my French intensive adult language course at the Easy French School in Montpellier. They have a big open plan kitchen and lounge where they all do a lot of work on their computers so often I can cook whilst they work or watch the telly. We chat together or I can listen to them laughing and joking and I’m picking up a lot of stuff just naturally going about my way. It’s proper French immersion and they are a close family as well so it’s lovely to be around them.
I was cooking up some pasta last night, I was doing a lovely simple recipe that Jean-Marc (the dad) had showed me a couple of days previously and they were all on their laptops working away busily with the TV on in the background. I was focusing on my cooking when they all let out a few surprised sounds. It sounded like something was on the telly that was of interest to them; it was the Cèsars. I must admit I had no idea what these were when they first started talking about it, I think I had heard them discussed once before whilst I’ve been learning French in Montpellier but I never really delved into what they were.
I’m Finally Learning More About French Cinema During My French Immersion Stay in France
They are one of the more important French movie award ceremonies. I say that because there are a lot of award ceremonies at the revered festivals that France hosts and many of the awards there are considered extremely prestigious as well. The Césars follow a similar format to that of the Oscars or the Baftas with a host, long speeches and somewhat awkward gags and skits. My French host family were quite excited to see it was on and closed their laptops and started paying attention. I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn a bit more about French cinema which I have been meaning to do since I came to do a French language stay in Montpellier.
The awards started to be dished out and there were a few films that seemed to be coming up a lot in the nominations and were definitely sparking my interest. Barbara by Mathieu Amalric is a film I have written about before when I was discussing the Cannes film festival and I was happy to see that the lead; Jeanne Balibar won best actress this year. The film also won the Cèsar for best sound so it was a successful night for the team. Best actor went to Swann Arlaud in Petit Paysan by Hubert Charuel.
The raging successes of the night though were 120 Battements par minute (120 beats per minute) and Au revoir là-haut. The former is a touching movie about a group of LGBT activists in Paris during the aids epidemic and they walked away with best film as well as 5 other awards. The latter is a drama set in post-first world war France and they walked away with 5 awards in total.
My French host family and I enjoyed a few laughs at the overly dramatic and long speeches as well as seeing which films we would like to see next and we set a time next week to go see one of them. I was so happy I was finally learning a bit more about French cinema as I have been meaning to ever since I started my French intensive immersion course for adults here in Montpellier. I know this city has a strong cinematic culture and a few of my friends at the Easy French Immersion School are also keen to go more often, I feel like I have a foot in the door now and I hope to get more involved during my time learning French in France.