Séparé à la naissance?

Is it just me, or does Dominique de Villepin, the former French Prime Minister (now under investigation for his role in an alleged smear campaign against Nicolas Sarkozy back in 2004), resemble our beloved Professor Capretz un petit peu?



FIAfans gets its own domain name, looks for authors

So, we ponied up the 15 clams and dispensed with the « wordpress.com » at the end of our name (much as we are liking wordpress right now) to become simply fiafans.org. Easy to remember, n’est-ce pas?

I am looking for contributors who would like to write blog entries from time to time. Send me an example blog article (related in some way to FIA, bien sûr). If I like it I’ll put it up here and designate you as an author, meaning you are free to post as many blog entries as you’d like, whenever you like, without my involvement (I won’t have to approve your post). I retain administrator privileges, but will only nuke something by someone who exhibits signs of being «mal élevé».

I am especially interested in hearing from anyone involved in the production of FIA. Why not share your reminiscences with those who love what you made twenty years ago?

Use the form below the fold to contact me. Lire la suite

Qu’est-ce qu’elles disent?


More than once during the course of FIA we are treated to this cute scene of Mireille and Marie-Laure playing this children’s game.

They sing in unison:

«Je te tiens, tu me tiens par la barbichette, la première qui rira aura une tapette.»

A «Barbichette» is a goatee according to the Ultralingua dictionary on my ‘puter. Makes sense, even though neither party to this game has one (grâce à Dieu). But what is «une tapette»? Ultralingua renders this one as  » a queer or homosexual. » Gee, quel drôle de jeu, I thought. Here they are singing:  » I have you, you have me, by the whiskers on our chin, the first one who laughs will have a homosexual. » A homosexual what?, I thought. First child? Yikes! Luckily my Langenscheidt French-English dictionary also includes « a gentle tap » as one of the meanings of this word.

Une drôle de bonne soeur et son journal

Thanks to Charles Mayer’s Fancy Robot posts, we know that all the filming in Paris took place during the summer of 1985. It’s fun to look for such things as movie placards and magazines incidentally caught on film that definitively date the shot. Here we see the mysterious man-in-black (Jean-Claude Cotillard) in Leçon 40. He’s at a table at Fouquet’s near the one at which Mireille, Robert, Hubert and Jean-Pierre are sitting. Just earlier he had appeared to be a spy who alternately blinked his eyes so as to spell «zut» in Morse code. Now, as Prof. Capretz says: «Le drôle de type qui faisait du morse en clignant ses yeux a disparu et a été remplacé par une bonne soeur qui fait du morse avec sa cornettejean-claude.jpg».

Bizarre, bizarre…

Note the newspaper he’s holding. It’s La Croix, a daily Catholic newspaper (le journal correct pour une soeur). The date on the masthead is far too small to read, but the headline is plain: «Jean-Paul II, du Kenya au Maroc».

In less than 30 seconds Google finds me the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops page with the dates of all of John Paul II’s trips outside of Italy. Le Pape traveled to Togo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Zaire, Kenya, and Morocco from August 8-19, 1985. The headline indicates that John Paul was on the final leg of this trip, traveling between Kenya and Morocco. Thus it seems likely that the date of this newspaper, and hence the day of filming, is probably 18 August 1985, plus or minus a day.

I’d love to hear about details in other episodes that date them.

And oh, yes, I have a life, I swear!

Is Mireille your cult hero? You’re not alone!

Who the first was to concede cult status to FIA and Valérie Allain we may never know, but in 2005 radio station WNMC in Traverse City, MI aired a piece by Jim Turner that rings all too true for many of us.

Turner ends with the conclusion: « Here in America, Mireille is a cult hero. »

UPDATE! Now all you have to do is cliquer ici.


travaux en cours

As you can surely tell, I have much to figure out regarding how best to set up this site. Bear with me and send me your suggestions!

A helpful blog visitor pointed out that the Fancy Robot FIA thread DOES survive at web.archive.org. Amazing. It now lives at the link above.

Bienvenue à tous!

Il y a vingt ans, French in Action, an ambitious French language video course for anglophones debuted in the classroom and on public television. It was the brainchild of Professor Pierre Capretz of Yale University and was produced by WGBH, Yale and Wellesley College with funding from Annenberg/CPB. The world has never been the same for those of us who fell under its spell.

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