Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Language Student by Francesca

  © 2012 

A pleasant way to learn French

It is three o' clock on a Thursday afternoon.  I'm sitting in my dressing gown, writing an e-mail to my cousin. However, I don't feel as if this lounging around the house is totally unproductive and indulgent.  I'm busy listening to French radio as I'm writing.  This has always been one of the great benefits of studying foreign languages.  The act of studying can take many forms, from passive studying like listening to France Inter on the radio while writing waffly e-mails, to more active forms, such as meeting French friends in the pub, and again engaging in waffle en français bien sûr!

The conscientious language student should try to make use of different media forms in their study.  With this in mind, a few hours later, two friends and I are at a showing of a film called Les Plages d'Agnès about the life and work of the surrealist French film-maker and photographer Agnès Varda. There must be a grand total of twelve people who have come to the vast auditorium for the film.  The three of us sit in the back row, eating biscuits and chocolate-covered peanuts, and skitting at the film.  It is genuinely funny.  At one stage there is a clip of  Agnès Varda lying Cleopatra-like on the beach, in an enormous beautifully coloured tent in the shape of a whale.  She explains that she was influenced by the story of Jonah and the Whale and says that she feels safe in the belly of the whale!  Later in the film, there is another clip of her dressed in a very strange brown costume.  She explains quite frankly, and with the lovely logic of a surrealist, that she has decided to dress as a talking potato in order to draw people in to an exhibition of her photography.  In one of the final scenes of the film Agnès Varda is collecting brushes, and shows us a collection of about eighty. We laugh delightedly thinking of the old saying ''as daft as a brush''.    

Surreal, slightly daft, amusing and with some beautiful cinematography, Les Plages d'Agnès is well worth seeing.  All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable film, and a good evening's study! 

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