Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The most successful film of all times?


I'm just back from the movies... I had to see the most successful film of the moment: "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis!" Don't expect to see it in your country, there is very little chance this film will ever be exported because it's... er... very very French. Ch'tis is what the people in the northern part of France call themselves - and also the language they speak (with a very strong accent!). Let's be honest, this movie is not a masterpiece, but it's funny and highlights all the stereotypes that people from the South have about the French Northerners! What is interesting is that it's a huge success ; eventually it's very likely that more than 10 million people will have seen it. Talking about accents, have a look at this.

67 comments:

  1. 10 million? That is an awful lot of people specially for a film of that type.

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  2. I'm afraid I will have to listen to the accents later. I love movie posters. I would also like to know what these sterotypes of the North and south are

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  3. Good - now the comments about the photo can begin!

    I've never heard of Ch'tis, and I consider myself a fan of linguistics...which is why I adored that link. Amy Walker is brilliant!

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  4. Not for the contest, Buzz girl. The jury is out on Rose--2 full lines for the contest.

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  5. BTW, here is the Bande annonce (trailer).

    I'll tell you about the stereotypes tomorrow, for it's 1:39 and I have to go to bed.

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  6. Is it really fun Eric? I'm not sure it is my type of film.

    If you want to hear this wonderful accent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koHf6ud2mW0
    Don't worry, even French people don't understand what the guy is saying.

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  7. En dessous de l'affiche il y a écrit "VO interdit au moins de 12 ans"!!! LOL

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  8. It looks like the film will be showing this summer in Quebec. I will try to go see it when it does, it looks quite fnny. Merci pour le lien :)

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  9. Good Night Eric! Congratulations buzzgirl! I missed the PDP, just got back from a short trip to Sarasota with my son (ohhh, sunshine, palm trees and white sand, just delightful). So happy to see a film photo (and do hope this one is released to a broad audience). LOL, the video is fantastic, especially laughed at the Brooklyn 'tude and the sweet Charleston lilt. ;)

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  10. After listening to the accents suggested by Eric on his link,I am curious as to what the native speakers thought of their accents. The only credible American "Amy Walker", I thought, was Seattle.The California one had the hard "R" foreigners think Americans speak with. The Brooklyn accent was laughable! Texas hurt my ears.

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  11. Buzzgirl - hi! You were technical first, but you'll have to refer to PHX's interpretation of the PDP constitution to see why Rose won :)

    I'm curious to know the differences too - the movie would probably be like an inside joke, but I'd still like to know.

    I liked the accents link very much - we'll have to hear what Petrea thinks, since she is the authority on voices :) Phx - I thought the Los Angeles one sounded just like moi ;) ;) ;)

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  12. The French sounds not like mine! LOL.
    "I am curious as to what the native speakers thought of their accents". Phx-Cdg, French people from Paris put an ugly "euh" at the end of almost each word.

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  13. Thanks pont girl, I don't know if I'm an authority. I thought Ms. Walker's UK accents were great, but since I'm not from the UK I'd like to hear from a native about those. I thought she was off on most of the American ones. So I went to her website to see where she's from. I think she's American!

    PHX-CDG, I would also love to hear what the native speakers think of how they're being portrayed.

    Eric, I like what you did with the photo: poster, poster, fluorescent light. Bzzzt!

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  14. Oh sure, Buzz Girl. Scold us for getting off topic and then sneak in for the prize! You are indeed a worthy contender. I like your style!

    Once again we are on the same wave length, Eric. Or is it that you are reading my email? Either way, a friend had just sent me a link to the trailer for this very film this past weekend. I wish it would be released here in the US!

    Good to know that it was just a movie that kept you out so late! I was getting a bit worried.

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  15. Eric,
    I have for a long time been a silent observer of your site. It's high time I tell you how much I love it! I am a French teacher in a small school in New York State. I often use your pics of Paris to jumpstart discussions in class and to teach my students some French current events. Merci mille fois!!!
    prof.framboise

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  16. Okay Guille, you have just solved a major mystery pour moi. Many times in Paris, I have heard the "euh" placed at the end of a word that doesn't end with "e" and not known what to make of it! I have mostly noticed it with people in the morning saying, "Bonjour-euh!" I could never figure it out - thank you so much!!

    Welcome Prof. Framboise. My French professor from high school whom it was my pleasure and privilege to study under for 3 years is responsible for my introduction and love affair with all things French for the last 20 years. (Merci Madame Victorson!) I am sure you inspire many daily as well!

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  17. I lived 2 years in Picardie, not that far from Paris, actually, but you could have sworn you were at least 3 continents away. Those were not very good years and while I realize you can't generalize over one experience and put everybody in the same bag, I still found a certain pattern in the mentality of people... not a big fan of these parts of France, really not. And the weather absolutely, positively sucks in the North.

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  18. By the way, Amy Walker is very good, indeed!

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  19. Cela doit correspondre à un besoin profond d'identité chez nos concitoyens déboussolés ces derniers temps.
    Merci pour le clip de Amy Walker.

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  20. I just saw this movie 3 days ago and had a good time.
    I do understand it's success : it's back to the nice guy laugh, a comedy style that does no more make fun of someone on a scornfull way, as used these last decades

    and moreover, it's life the way it is, showing everyday situation in a social group others French like to discover.
    I think it is in the same line as another one that was a huge success too, "la verite si je mens", dwelling in the Paris sepharade jewish community : folklore plus a happy mood

    VO means it's not translated into French, well it isn't ;o))))

    Did you see a Quebec movie by Jean-François Pouliot, called "La grande séduction"?
    same universe

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  21. De rien-euh Pont Girl-euh. This "euh" is sexy isn't it?!

    I'm still wondering about this VO sign under the poster...The film is French so the original language is French, so I don't understand! Does a French dubbing exist to dub the Ch'ti language? Incredible.
    Eric, you're the only one who know the answer...

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  22. I feel excluded! I want to see this film. It sounds great.

    The accent thing was fabulous, really fascinating and what a talented actress she is! My accent is somewhere between no. 1 and no. 3.

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  23. Amy's 'sight' as she calls it is quite interesting. It reminds me of performing monologues studying theatre at college when i was applying to uni for drama (no, didn't get in). I'm not sure of the merits of putting herself on You Tube though. Seems a bit desperate to me, what do you think, Petrea?

    I can hear American in the English accents, mainly in the long drawing out of words, her intonation rather than the accent of the word itself, which is good.

    No. 1 accent is alright, although there's a wince-making amount of Dick Van Dyke coming through i.e. Landon, she says, rather than Luhndon.

    Her cockney (no. 2) is blighted by her characterisation. Not everyone in London with a cockney accent is a thug!

    Her upper class accent (no. 3)is too cartoony. No-one i know actually speaks with such an amount of affectation, even the Queen, whose accent and her son Charles is affected enough in my view! Mostly, 'posh accents' are fictitious and exaggerated from the more normal 'born rich and not in public eye'. Upper class accents are simply well spoken diction with enunciation, for example Diana Princess of Wales or her sons, though i've noticed of late that William and Harry are 'dumbing down' their accents; i presume to become more street-cred, i don't know. That said, i do think she's very talented.

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  24. I've not heard of ch'tis either. Is it pronounced shtee?

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  25. Phx: Thank you thank you!! I received the mug! It's gorgeous and large too, i adore large mugs. Beautiful. It's now a treasured possession in the Lynn household. I am delighted. Bisous. Lynn.

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  26. Lynn, you must bring it with you when you go to Paris...you know...TO SHOW OFF!
    :)
    Hopefully, Monica, Petrea and a few others will all be able to meet up there too!

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  27. From a real Ch'ti here. I can't wait to see this film, even if it's stupid. I've seen the trailer and, even if it does not look like an academy award contender, it should still be quite entertaining. And I love Dany Boon, who, by the way, did a masterful show at the Opera House in Lille to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his career as a comedian - entirely in Ch'ti dialect. I could understand it all (my grandmother spoke it), although I cannot really produce much of it.

    Finally - Tomate: I do feel bad that you dislike northern France so much. I know, I know, the weather sucks, but there are many redeeming qualities to "le plat pays."

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  28. I think a lot of British people think northern France IS France! Since this is where we go for day trips. I like it anyway.

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  29. It's "shtee" yes.
    Lynn, you have a mug to show off?! LOL.

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  30. I do!! I shall be posting it at some point at my blog of course. It's 'Divine, Darling'.

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  31. This entire subject of accents is fascinating to me and gives a real view into different cultures.I am anxiously awaiting your answer to the NorthvsSouth,Eric.
    Euh--give me more, Guille!What else?
    Thanks for the "dissertation" on the accents, Lynn. Much appreciated. For those who don't know, Dick Van Dyke is the standard to which you don't ever want to achieve when imitating another language (in Mary Poppins).

    And....you are so welcome, you deserved it.

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  32. About the French accents?
    The accent from South is delightful (to me!). I talk about Eastern South, where I spent all my holidays during more than 17 years. The accent of the Western South is nice too, with some Spanish consonances, the accent is stronger I think.
    The accent of the East, near Germany is not the one I prefer, in Reims where I work once a month, they say "ui" for "oui" and "uik end" for "week end", it makes me crazy. LOL.
    The one I can't hear without laughing (and I'm sorry for that, I swear!) is the accent from North. The "a" and the "oi [oua]" become "o" in all the words! Kind of:"j'sais po pourquo"... A part of my family live there and not only I don't catch a word but also, they use a vocabulary which is used nowhere else! If you want an example:
    http://www.ledauphine.com/ch-ti-lexique-@/index.jspz?chaine=21&article=12391
    And in the France center and Ile de France, we put, as I said, "euh" at the end of each word. Not better.

    Pont Girl, different from the accent but important to understand a French who's talking: we never pronounce all the letters, thus, the sentence "je ne sais pas" becomes "j'sais pas","je n'en veux pas" becomes "j'en veux pas"; the negative form "ne" is often hidden. Nice, right? ;)

    It's nice to have different accents, and what's more, each region has its own patois.

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  33. Forgot the most important, Ch'ti means 'celui-ci" (this one). I gives you an idea of the accent.

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  34. I am seeing my friend from Lille this weekend.She is going to wonder how I got so knowledgeable since last week!

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  35. Hardly a dissertation Phx, just my take on it, really. LOVE my mug. I just had a mug of tea in it - well it's three o'clock and all English have tea at three or four - i swear it tasted better.

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  36. Interesting thread. Regarding patois and different accents in France, I just finished reading this book, and I highly recommend it: The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War by Graham Robb. Here's the book description from Amazon:

    While Gustave Eiffel was changing the skyline of Paris, large parts of France were still terra incognita. Even in the age of railways and newspapers, France was a land of ancient tribal divisions, prehistoric communication networks, and pre-Christian beliefs. French itself was a minority language.

    Graham Robb describes that unknown world in arresting narrative detail. He recounts the epic journeys of mapmakers, scientists, soldiers, administrators, and intrepid tourists, of itinerant workers, pilgrims, and herdsmen with their millions of migratory domestic animals. We learn how France was explored, charted, and colonized, and how the imperial influence of Paris was gradually extended throughout a kingdom of isolated towns and villages.

    The Discovery of France explains how the modern nation came to be and how poorly understood that nation still is today. Above all, it shows how much of France—past and present—remains to be discovered. 8 pages of color and 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.

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  37. About the VO (Version Originale) sign.

    I've been lucky enough to take this photo while they were changing the billboards (as the lights on the right part proves it). Therefore the VO sign refers to previous movies, probably American ones.

    No doubt that once they were done with the billboard changes, they also changed the VO to VF (version française)!

    But still, I've found it quite amusing to see VO associated with this film.

    This reminds me of some French Canadian shows that they have on TV5 Monde, where they use subtitles because they're afraid that French people won't understand. Kinda like British films had subtitles in the US !!

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  38. She gave it a good try with those accents... ;)

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  39. Luggi, that book's on my wish list!

    Good morning everyone. (Or afternoon, or evening.)

    Someone asked (was it Guille?) if putting one's self on Youtube is desperate. I think not, a lot of young actors do it these days. You have to be sure what you put there is good. Obviously we're all talking about Amy, and we'll recognize her next time we see her (even if we don't remember where we've seen her before). So it's recognition, if nothing else.

    Fascinating discussion. phx-cdg, you're so right about Dick Van Dyke!

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  40. Petrea
    I agree with you about putting oneself on Youtube. For me it is just another form of marketing. So why not?

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  41. Merci, encore Guille - j'aime ecouter la langue quand je suis en Paris!

    Luggi - I want to get that book, too - I was admiring it at Borders last week.

    Lynn - liked your take on all of the different English accents.

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  42. It's delicious to hear that your country has the issue of stereotypes too. Human nature is the same all over, I guess.

    Mari-Nanci

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  43. Petrea, it was me who asked your opinion and i guess you're right, yes!

    Luggi i want that book too. Lots of potential sales on here!

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  44. Talking of acting, films, etc., what do people think of Marion Cotillard's remarks that she thinks 9/11 was an American fabrication and that men did not really land on the moon? I've been meaning to ask...

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  45. Ohh la la!! The bande annonce is quite humorous! No wonder my grandfather left Montdidier for Quimper[from the frying pan into the fire as we say]where he met my grandmother and then eventually came to the US via New Brunswick[Canada]and settled in Boston.

    Although he is buried outside of Boston he never became a US citizen and remained a "Picard" to the bitter end!! I can still hear him say..."garsshonn[garcon]...viennns ch'iccci"[viens ici]...LOL!!

    He was a "piece of work" as they say, and never allowed us to call him "grandpa"..we had to say "Monsieur"!! Too much!!

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  46. Elisabeth: I thought of you when I saw this post, and I remembered some comments you once made about Lille, either on your blog or on Eric's, describing what seemed to me like a nice, modern, provincial town... very different indeed from what I remember, actually.

    Things undoubtely have changed in all these years in the North as well as in the South, but still, if I had to choose, I think I'd go live in the South of France instead. It's not just because they have better weather but I guess I feel more comfortable down there, maybe it's a better personality fit for me or something, who knows. Of course, I don't feel all that comfortable when I get hit with massive allergies when they do the harvest and stuff, but hey, I guess that's what Claritin is for. Just thinking about it, I miss it a little and I can almost smell the lavender...

    In the "Chti" movie, the guy with car immatriculated "13" is supposed to be from Salon de Provence, a really really cute area.

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  47. I m out of the race tonight. I have just arrived from a pub quiz so I am off to an early night.

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  48. Aahh 13000 (soupir) Aix en Provence... But I prefer 84 Avignon, Carpentras etc! ;) So Tomate you know this area?!

    Tonton Flaneur you are/were so lucky to have such a grandpa, I mean, Monsieur grandpa!..

    According to "all", Lille is a very pleasant city, young and creative, with a prolific contemporary art production.

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  49. Answered you in the yesterday's comments Lynn!

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  50. Btw, you're absolutely not out of race tonight!! Liar!! ;)

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  51. LOLLL!!! What about you then? Still too busy at dinner? I think not. he he. I will not be up late though. Snigger.

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  52. WOW! what a blog!

    I saw this on the blogger homepage and maybe I am the thousandth person to say this...but, I am really fascinated by Paris and looking at your blog made my day.

    I have taken the liberty to put a link to your blog from mine.

    Again... WOW!!!

    cheers

    Shaurya

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  53. Guile: ("you know this area") A little bit. I considered going to live there once. I guess California is the next best thing ;)


    Shaurya: Welcome to virtual Paris :)

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  54. And this photo actually had comments associated with the subject! I was so interested to read all of the different takes on the accents, parts of France, and to some old friends here.

    Does anybody remember the Cheech & Chong schtick about "dog chit"? That was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw this movied title!

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  55. 'Bergues' the city in the film is victim of its success. People call the tourist information to ask if the city really exist and they have already stolen the city entry sign (a souvenir may by).

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  56. Are you much of a futbol fan? I hear Lille are decent in the French league. I hope to somehow (possibly through piracy) acquire this film.

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  57. J'ai été un chti peu déçu par ce film.

    (sorry for the play on words ; I can't translate) I have been a little disappointed by this film. And I think it does not deserve its success. There are very good French films to see otherwise: La Môme (Edith Piaf), Le Serpent (The Snake), Roman de gare, Persepolis, Un secret, just to name a few from last year.

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  58. En réalité "ch'ti" n'est pas, en tout cas à l'origine, le terme par lequel les "ch'tis" s'appelent.
    Ce terme a été créé par d'autres pendant la grande guerre.
    "ch'ta ti" (c'est à toi) fut contracté en "ch'ti".
    Le Picard est une langue distincte du français et non un patois, par contre l'ensemble des "patois picards" forment le Picard.
    Voilà, j'espère que le commentaire est utile ou au moins interessant ... et bravo pour votre blog. Beau et instructif.

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