Now, I don’t much care for cycling, but somehow I ended up watching both Girl on a Bicycle and Bicycling with Molière this week. For those of you who can still show whole movies in French class, here’s what I have to say before you screen these movies for your classes: While Girl on a Bicycle is a sweet, heart-warming movie, it should in no way be considered for a French class. The movie is very nearly entirely in English with a sprinkling of German and about two sentences in French. The movie does take place in Paris, so you get to see some architecture and signs, but the only time I would use this movie in the classroom would be to show a French culture class (taught in English) some of the Parisian monuments. If you are a French teacher who is just looking for a movie to watch and not necessarily worried about sharing with students, I recommend this movie. The main character is Paolo, an Italian tour bus driver who proposes to his German flight attendant girlfriend in Paris where they live together. A girl on a bicycle captures Paolo’s attention just days after the proposal, Paolo accidentally hits his crush with his bus and some very silly situations ensue. This film is too serious to really be a comedy, but there is a happy ending to this well cast movie. I would give it 3 stars.
As for Bicycling with Molière, this movie is definitely suited for the high school classroom. While themes of sexuality are discussed, there is nothing too overt and I would feel comfortable watching this movie with my seniors in AP French or French 5. The main characters are Serge, played by Fabrice Luchini, and Gauthier, played by Lambert Wilson. I recognize Fabrice from Les femmes du 6e étage and Lambert from Barbecue that I just watched a few weeks ago! This is a literary comedy that treats at length le Misanthrope by Molière. Gauthier is a successful television actor and Serge, while a movie and stage actor in the past, has since retired from the dramatic scene and lives a rather lonely life on the Île de Ré off the Atlantic coast of France. Gauthier does his best to convince Serge to return to the acting world to work with him on the stage production of Le Misanthrope. The two friends alternate roles while rehearsing and there is lots of wonderful dialogue that AP students can use to practice for the listening comprehension activities on the exam. Bicycling with Molière would work well with the themes of family and community and esthetics. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars!