C'est une question pour moi?

France, the outsider's gaze

A series of videos for French language exploration, filmed on location with Hong Kong students.

Produced by the University of Hong Kong Interactive Media Group and the Language Centre.
© University of Hong Kong 2003.

NB:QuickTime 6 and Style Sheets required


Zoé et Olga vont en bateau.

Zoé, a Chinese TV journalist, is reporting from the Eiffel Tower when Olga, a mysterious Ukranian beauty, asks for directions. The two set out on an eccentric Odyssey across Paris.

Part 1: (2'37") Tour Eiffel, Rive Gauche, Musée Rodin, Invalides
Part 2: (3'16") Catacombes, Notre Dame, Hôtel de Ville, Beaubourg
Part 3: (3'52") Crêperie, Marché aux Puces
Part 4: (5'16") Jardin du Luxembourg, Gare du Nord
Part 5: (2'59") Montmartre
Part 6: (4'13") Dalida, Heidi

Monuments Catacombes and Notre Dame


Une journée à Paris

Mandy, Karen & Fiona ride the Métro on a tour of Paris landmarks and encounters with Parisians: a bride being photographed in the Parc Monceau, a mushroom salesman, a connoisseur of cheese, a group of street musicians and Manet's Déjeuner sur l'herbe.

1. Original version

2. With voice-over commentary


Take a QuickTimeVR stroll through the historic 4e arrondissement from the Notre Dame (Petit Pont) to the Centre Georges Pompidou, then take the métro back to the Eiffel Tower.
Use your mouse to control navigation; zoom in and out with the <Shift> and <Ctr> keys.

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Fanny et les faux jumeaux

In Perpignan, Fanny is trying to interview a pair of 7 year old twins (faux jumeaux) but they keep turning the questions back on her. Flustered by the unexpected role reversal, she asks: "C'est une question pour moi?" "Oui," replies Jonas, serious as a schoolteacher, "C'est une question pour toi!" The title phrase may not be good idiomatic French, but it works. It enables Fanny to stall for time while thinking up her answer. It is an example of a language survival strategy.

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Où sont les Français?

On the Côte Vermeille, Ricky investigates where the French go on their vacations (the answer is basically "to France"). He encounters vacationers from France and other countries; has a lesson in pétanque from the local champion and learns to dance the sardane.

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Plage Pétanque


Les commerçants de Perpignan

Venus takes us on an ice cream tasting tour of Perpignan, encountering a varied gaggle of shopkeepers along the way: an olive seller in the market (just why are some olives green and others black?); a blender of apéritifs (attention! ils sont alcoolisés); a shopkeeper intent on perfecting her suntan; and a glacier with a mission.

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Pain, moutarde et fromage de chèvre

In Dijon, Melody and Carmen learn the finer points of wine tasting and goat cheese manufacture, help the local boulanger bake his morning baguettes, tour the mediaeval hospital (Les Hospices de Beaune) and try to discover the secret recipe for Moutarde de Dijon.

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Passionnants métiers

In the village of Fontaine Française the local baker has named his shop Maître Cornille after the character from Alphonse Daudet. His is un métier passionnant, not suitable for people who take a slap-dash approach to baking.
Patrick and Laurence have converted a 17th century water mill into a guest house (Table d'Hôte) where Patrick makes his own Kir from wild berries and Laurence invents unique recipes such as Les six 'on' (poivron, oignon, cornichon, citron, champignon, cochon).

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Les vins de Bourgogne

Another man with a métier passionnant (interesting job) is the chief wine guide at the Hospices de Beaune. He shows our students through the wine cellar (most expensive bottle FF100,000, i.e., 15,000 euros) and conducts a tutored wine tasting of white and red Burgundy wines.

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Jan et Aurélie

A low-key discussion with Aurelie, the daughter in Jan's host family. Jan and Aurelie talk about the differences between Hong Kong and French life and then tour the extensive garden.

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Un déjeuner breton

Fiona takes us to lunch in a restaurant beside the Port de Brest. The waiter explains the set price menu and the correct way to order ketchup.

1. Original Version

2. With voice-over Commentary



Chez la famille Corbel

M. et Mme Corbel have been hosting overseas students for many years. Karen is one of three students currently staying with them. She shows us around the house then interviews the Corbels about their experiences with students of French.

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French at HKU

French Starters

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