Paris: French cinema in English


One of the main problems when bubu and myself arrived to Paris was going to the cinema. The truth is that I still have troubles understanding French films, especially the different accents they use in every city, or when the actors speak really fast or even worst the slangs.

After a while, I found my new favorite place for expats “Lost in Frenchlation”. This organization shows French movies with English subtitles. Films are screened at the Art Deco Cinema Studio 28 Theater in Montmatre and also features a cocktail hour before the film.

I had a really nice chat with Matt Bryan & Manon Kerjean from “Lost in Frenchlation” so check out what they told me!

1. Can you tell me how the name and the concept were decided?

I’m French, but the co-founder Matt is Australian, and while he was living in Paris, a really good movie was released, it wasn’t French but Canadian, the film ‘Mommy’ from Xavier Dolan! We had heard so much about it and we really wanted to see it at the cinema, but we couldn’t find a single cinema in Paris that was showing it with English subtitles – we couldn’t enjoy the film in any of Paris’ amazing cinemas, we had to wait for it to be released on DVD. That’s when we realized that much of Paris’ international community (its expatriates, international students, tourists etc.), are effectively excluded from enjoying French cinema in Paris like the French and Parisians do. We wanted to do something about that, because French cinema is a really important part of French culture and one of the country’s greatest arts. French cinema is yet another way to become even more deeply immersed in French culture!

As for the name, I was brainstorming one night with some friends and it was actually my best friend who came up with it! She often makes jokes about claiming royalties haha. We love it because it perfectly conveys the idea of being lost in a culture because of the language barrier – as in the movie ‘Lost in Translation’ – but with a French touch!

2. Which is the space’s main target? I have the idea that this is only for expats but maybe I’m wrong.

Lost in Frenchlation is for everyone! Our screenings typically attract a lot of expats and international students from all over the world, as well as native Parisians coming to meet new people or accompanying their English speaking friend to a French movie in Paris – something that wasn’t possible before us! More and more though, we’re starting to see tourists come through our doors and we’re hoping that this trend will continue as people discover the magic of French cinema.

3. What do you think about French cinema? Which is your favorite French movie?

I think that French cinema is original and closer to reality than many other kinds of movies. That’s probably due to the freedom left to the director, whereas sometimes in the US I think the producer has too much power over the film. In France there’s more independent, counter-stream cinema, the ‘cinéma d’auteur’, and more art-house cinema, ‘cinéma d’art et d’essai’… I also feel like some French movies tend to give more importance to the content rather than to the style of the film, and I like that. There’s typically less action, things are less shown, and the spectator has to do a little bit more work to understand what’s going on. Because the psychology is more complicated, it’s less Manichean than American cinema – there’s no black and white but many shades of grey (excuse the pun!) Despite that though, I feel like I can really understand the characters and identify with them, but then again… I’m French!

I would say Betty Blue/37°2 Le Matin by Jean-Jacques Beineix is my favourite film. It’s also my favorite book! It’s a classic French movie from the 80s about passion and pain. It’s very powerful, and I think it really shows the intensity of French people with life and relationships. There are so many elements to it through – the colors, the way the characters are dressed, the way they talk, and the soundtrack – it’s all great and all of the parts contribute to the film in their respective ways. It’s quite a full on movie to begin your exploration of French film with, but it’s probably a good place to start anyway… it’s a real masterpiece.

4. How do you choose the movies you are showing in “Lost in Frenchlation”?

We choose our films based on what we would want to watch – we ask ourselves what everyone else in Paris would like to see, and then try our best to offer that experience to the international community. We’re not always successful though, it can be really hard to get our hands on a copy of a French film with English subtitles… in Paris! The copies are usually overseas because that makes more sense, but we’ve proven that non-French speakers in Paris want to go to the movies to see French films too! Hopefully it will become easier for us as time goes on.

5. Now you are using two locations, Studio 28 and Parisian cinema Le Brady, are you thinking in another option? What’s next for “Lost in Frenchlation”?

Funny you ask that actually – we’ll be working with the London International Documentary Festival over the next 6 months to bring the best French documentaries to the international community of Paris. We’ll be doing these screenings at the historic Cinema Mac-Mahon, located just moments away from the Champs-Élysées. Our first screening of ‘Flâneurs’ will be on March 3rd and you don’t want to miss it!

We’re always open to learning about great new independent cinemas though, and we hope to one day start our own that brings French cinema to the international community every day of the year!

For now we’re doing weekly screenings between the cinemas Studio 28 in Montmartre and Le Brady in Strasbourg-Saint Denis, so keep an eye on our Facebook page / subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about our events!

Address Cinema Studio 28: 10 Rue Tholozé, 75018 Paris
Metro: Abbesses (M12)
Address Le Brady: 39 Boulevard de Strasbourg, 75010 Paris
Metro: Château d’Eau (M4)
Web: Lost in Frenchlation
Events: FB Event Page

Tip: Make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before so the film doesn’t sell out!

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