Jan 31st, 2023, 07:00 PM

Are You Lost in Frenchlation?

By Ainsley Swenson
Image Credit: Ainsley Swenson
Reviewing the organization that lets you practice French and meet other Anglophones while enjoying a film.

Growing up in a small town meant I had few forms of entertainment. To pass the time in my childhood I could either do chores, play outside in the freezing Wisconsin weather or watch movies. Naturally, I chose the latter. This led to an extreme love for film and, when I was old enough to drive, caused me to become an avid movie attendee.  

Movies have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, so when I moved to Paris, home of the most visited movie theater in the world, I could not wait to have such broad access to cinemas. Over my last eighteen months in this city, I have attended the cinema about twice a week and become a regular at theaters like UGC Ciné Cité Les Halles and Gaumont Champs-Élysées. I have always seen films in English, since it is the only language I am fluent in, but I continuously grew more interested in watching French cinema after seeing so many trailers for the latest French feature films. The only problem was that I could not see the newest releases because they are never shown with English subtitles. Or so I thought...

A company called Lost in Frenchlation hosts events once or twice a week at different theaters around Paris with a goal to expose the world to French cinema and make it more accessible to those who don't speak French. At these events, the latest and most popular French films are shown with English subtitles.

On Jan. 26th, I attended a screening of Noémie Lefort’s "Mon Héroïne". This event, like all Lost in Frenchlation's screenings, started an hour before the film was scheduled to play. During this hour, attendees have the chance to drink and mingle with other internationals living in or visiting Paris. I really enjoyed this portion of the night and met many wonderful people from a variety of countries, including a university student visiting from the United Kingdom. When asked why she wanted to come the screening during one of the few nights she was in the city, she said she "thought it would be a really cool experience" to see a French movie at a theater. 

After drinks, everyone filed into the theater and took their seats. Before the screening began, we heard a few quick words from one of the founders of Lost in Frenchlation, Manon Kerjean, and were told about their next event on January 30th at the Cinéma du Panthéon. We watched one short trailer and "Mon Héroïne" began. It was a comedy about an aspiring director trying to get her screenplay to her idol, Julia Roberts. The crowd in the cinema was laughing from beginning to end. I enjoyed being able to watch such an entertaining movie while also being more exposed to French language and culture. 

Director Noémie Lefort (left) answers questions about her film, "Mon Héroïne", from Lost in Frenchlation founder, Manon Kerjean (right). Image credit: Ainsley Swenson

After the film ended, Manon walked to the front of the theater with the director of the movie for a Q&A. Almost all of Lost in Frenchlation's events have a Q&A with the directors or producers of the film that was shown. This was the part I was most looking forward to since I love hearing about how films are made and I also like learning about how directors make cinematic choices . Director Noémie Lefort was charismatic and answered questions from the audience for around thirty minutes. She spoke about what inspired her to make her film, Easter eggs she had hidden in different scenes and, of course, her favorite Julia Roberts movie.

I absolutely loved this event. I got to meet new people, learn about the production of movies, practice my French and experience a bit more of the French movie culture. If you get the chance to, I highly recommend attending a Lost in Frenchlation event.