French Club Movie Night Paves Way for French Education

French Club Movie Night Paves Way for French Education

Derek Pezo ’19 & Kayla Leonard ’20

There are numerous methods a club may use in order to provide new ways for their members to enjoy themselves while still learning and contributing. On December 13th, the French Club hosted a movie night for all students in order to present a new way of experiencing the culture. Due to the success of the premiere, Lynn Lions, Club Advisor, plans to organize more nights in the same vein.

Lions chooses films that are very different from the Hollywood-style films students are used to. Instead, they provide insight into typical French life and bring about awareness of cultural differences. All films will be presented in French with English subtitles.

“I wanted to show them these films because I feel like it’s cultural exposure for the students,” explained Lions. “I tried to show films that give them a glimpse of all different scenarios of life in the French-speaking world.”

The first film the club enjoyed was Les Choristes, or The Chorus, which told the story of a music teacher’s influence in a French boarding school. The setting of this movie takes place in colonial France, offering a historical perspective for viewers. 

French Club President Kathleen Cathcart  stresses the effectiveness of movies for visual learners, as well as the excitement films bring. Simply taking the French language course is not enough to fully experience the culture, which she notes as the main goal of the club. French films provide some of this enlightenment.

“What I love most about these movies is that they aren’t as ‘glamorous’ as something like a Hollywood movie,’ stated Cathcart. “They’re more insightful to what a French family or French life is like.”

As a teacher, Lions is always seeking different ways of educating her students. “I feel like they don’t receive enough exposure other than the work they do here [in class],” she stated. “This is meant to give them a different perspective.”

Having several years of teaching experience prior to coming to Passaic Valley, Lions has also shown films like these at other schools. Students are generally unsure of what to expect, but the film nights have proved successful.

“As the students listened to the French spoken in the movies, I wanted them to recognize certain gestures and dialects in the language so that they feel confident in themselves,” stated Lions. “I also wanted everyone to identify with some type of character in the movies so that it can close the cultural barrier.”

Cathcart feels that French may be underdeveloped in schools and voices her hope that these movies will strengthen the name of the club. She hopes for these movie nights to continue, as it will spread awareness of the club and class in younger grades.

“I definitely think that it brings culture into the club that some people may be missing since they only take French in school and they don’t have it at home,” explained Cathcart. “The movies involve what is culturally known about France and the French language.”

Another movie night is scheduled for May 16th. “I would definitely love to see even more students from outside the French club than our first movie night.” Lions said.


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