I am very slowly closing in on ‘integrating’ into French society. It has taken five years to get to a point where I no longer feel awkward in a French speaking environment (and am finally ‘DELF‘ qualified!); although I am still unsure as how to greet certain people I have no hang-ups about kissing the unshaven men who are fellow thespians (and French); and while my immediate social circuit is primarily made up of English-speaking parents from school, my wider network is almost entirely French-speaking.
To cap it all I enjoyed a watershed moment at the cinema a few weeks ago, watching my first French film without subtitles (or pause button): Tous les Soleils. A choice heavily influenced by the film’s setting, Strasbourg, and not by the fact that I actually knew someone in it … which I only learnt as the titles started to roll!
It is an immensely enjoyable film, brilliantly cast and directed, funny, tragic, moving, and if you are familiar with the city it offers the opportunity to do a bit of location spotting. See here for a synopsis in English.
It was perhaps a beautiful coincidence that the lead character in the film, Alessandro, is an Italian who has successfully emigrated and integrated into French society.
Tes yeux sont si profonds qu’en me penchant pour boire
J’ai vu tous les soleils y venir se mirer
S’y jeter à mourir tous les désespérés
Tes yeux sont si profonds que j’y perds la mémoire