Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'French in Action' - 25 years later

Boule-dogue, boule-dogue, waouh, waouh, waouh!?

I've always known that Yale has some great reunions. Been to one or two myself, and had a rollicking good time.

But here's the Yale reunion to beat all reunions, in my book: The 25th Anniversary of "French in Action", slated for October 30-31 in New Haven.

Either you know and remember all about French in Action, or it doesn't ring a bell. A revered French-language program aired on PBS and in classrooms across America, its language and cultural sequences are seared in the minds of devotees ...and less-than devotees, also, I dare say. I know students of the show who can still recite entire episodes.

Pierre Capretz will be on hand for the reunion, as will be the lovely Mireille. I was and am a big fan, and wish I could be there for the shindig!

Just remember, time doesn't stand still.

But for those who remember the antics of Robert and Mireille, the Man in Black, and Pierre Capretz giving the language lesson, you can join the reunion and rekindle all those fond memories.

Update: see photos of the reunion here.


Pepe Le Pew said...

I've just started watching these videos. I'm loving them.

Anonymous said...

Mireille, in a nostalgic act reenacting episodes seared into the brains of former teenage-boy French students, will run onto the stage wearing a thin white blouse and no undergarments.

Carole said...

I watched those back in the 90s and loved them. What fun it would be to attend the reunion.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

I wish I could be there.
And yeah, Anonymous, who knows what chic garb Mireille will be sporting! :)

Jacqui said...

You can download the program for free on line. It's a great program. Pierre Capretz continues to develop new programs, the latest being an interactive computer program but this French in Action is still one of the best there is!

Claudia said...

I loved "French in Action". It was used in the Alliance Francaise in New York in the '80s and learned more through that program than I had in 6 years of class room teaching during my school. days. What a fun reunion - wish I could attend.

LMorland said...

First of all, I'm delighted to learn that Valerie Allain (Mireille) is still alive! I Googled her several years ago, and the conclusion was that she had died in a motorcycle accident.

But I just found her (barely-used) MySpace page, and guess what? She is alive, and she's really a brunette! http://www.myspace.com/allainvalerie

I think French in Action is a wonderful series, and it's a terrible pity that teachers stopped using the series on account of its so-called 'sexism'. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool feminist, and I've also lived in Paris for the past 10 years, and I can verify that everything that everything Professor Capretz tried to instruct his students about is true. (E.g., if a drageur tries to pick you up in the Jardin de Luxembourg, the best thing to do is not to respond to him in any way.)

I, too, wish I could be there for the reunion!

via said...

Ah, French in Action—what a great program. I took a year of French at a community college a few years ago and we used these, and I ended up getting the DVD set as a gift, so I’m still slowly but surely working through them.

I just wonder whatever happened to Marie-Laure? She’s easily my favorite character.

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Pamela Poole said...

I heard long ago that Yale (?) women students sued for sexual harassment because of the series. Could be urban legend. Anyone know?

Polly-Vous Francais said...

LMorland, thanks so much for the Mireille update.

I agree, I think that French in action was trying to teach not just language but culture. Surely anyone who protested on the basis of "sexism" hadn't spent time in Paris, where the codes are simply different.

Pamela, I don't know if they were actually sued or of the series simply fell from favor after accusations of sexist attitudes.

~amusette~* said...

thanks for the info Polly ... I had read on their website ... mystère et boules de gomme (www.fiafans.org) some time ago that they were considering a reunion...glad to hear that it's happening for real ... only wish I could be there. Living now in Paris, the progress in speaking french in large part came, thanks to this great series...
And Robert (Charles Mayer) has his fans too ... for sure :-)

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Update: here is a link to the reunion photos and events


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