Tutorial Transcript

Bonjour, today it's a 100% French listening exercise. So, we are going to talk today about the equivalent, french equivalent, of Downton Abbey, except that this was filmed 40 years ago. Okay, before I switch over to French, you can decide to watch it with the French or English subtitles. And also, the transcript is available on your support guide. Ok, here we go, let’s start in French. Hello Sarah. Hello Alexa. I am very excited to welcome you in my studio today. And today, I’d like to specifically talk about a TV show or a series that you really liked. So you have chosen: "Les Dames de la côte”, yes. So I got into the habit of bargain-hunting in shops and second hand shops in France or Belgium to buy DVDs or CDs. I fell upon this series that I knew nothing about. So I recently watched it and I must admit that I got pretty hooked. So, what is "Les Dames de la Côte" all about? I did mention at the start that this was the equivalent of Downton Abbey. Is that correct ? Yes, it is a proper soap, well, what the english would describe as a SOAP. The story focuses on the life of three bourgeois families and their respective servants. Between 1911 and 1920, approximately, on the Normand coast. Right. So this takes place during the 1st World War. That’s right, the series starts a little before the 1st World War and then follows up on the main event: the War and explores the many repercussions that it has had on the established order. The established order in bourgeois families or their servants? Is there a change? Exactly. In fact, we see that the very fabric of society is completely turned upside down. You witness a shift, roles in society are reversed, women are starting to have a much more important part to play due to the fact that they now have"men” jobs You witness French women reaching the same level of equality to French men when confronted with the horrors of War the servants become assertive and confident, some become nurses, doctors. And due to the harsh conditions of war, the bourgeois are getting poorer and are much more dependant on their servant's help so these different social classes are progressively becoming more equal. Equal. I like that. This analogy makes it sound as if there is a progressive and profound change of mœurs. Absolutely, absolutely. And a change is Fashion as well. Certainly, concerning Fashion… It’s quite funny actually. I thoroughly enjoyed all the scenes involving the bourgeois going out to the sea side. I laughed out loud when I saw those striped swimsuits, such a cliché. Of course, in the bourgeoisie at the time, women generally wore long dresses, the collars were laced, went all the way up to the neck, had long sleeves. And then the 20's happened, after the war, many young people that lived in the country side ended up in Paris. Indeed, the 20's, Fashion truly changed. It really went through a radical change we can observe the start of a new and modern society thanks to what they are wearing, their dresses, skirts are getting shorter, women are more assertive and bold, more makeup, yes, lots of jewelry and they went out more, to cafés, bars, dancing, etc. The Charleston. So do you recommend "Les Dames de la Côte" for those who wish to learn french? I think so, it’s relatively easy to follow. Also, I can also say that it is a very entertaining show to watch especially if you like stories that are women-centric, it is essentially a story about women. Whether the characters are bourgeois or servants. It really demonstrates how women lived at that time. On a personal level, I associated these thematics with what my grand mother had told me and it is very interesting. For example: The strong bond between servants and the bourgeois this was unique due to the fact that these two women were foster sisters. Although society forbid any type of amicable relationship between the bourgeois and the servants, the bond was extremely strong, it often happened that an entire family of servants would devote themselves to their bourgeois family’s house, they would remain associated or linked to the bourgeois family, in fact their bond/relationship was a lot warmer than we think. My grandmother was a witness to all of this. Okay so if you have the opportunity, watch "Les Dames de la Côte", directed by a woman Nina Companeez this series was created in 1979. At the time, these were some very famous actors and they still are. For example: Françoise Fabian, Fanny Ardant, Francis Huster. These actors are… This role put Fanny Ardant on the map. It’s what made her famous in France. And I’d just like to add that this is a very romantic series and I like that! So there you go, I really liked it and it also explores the huge impact the War has had on men of course. How families went through hell and back, the loss of….yes. Whether you had money or not. Everybody, there was truly a sense of equality. Okay great ! Thank you very much Sarah, very interesting. My pleasure ! I’m off to watch "Dames de la Côte"! Bye bye now and see you soon! Bisou bisou. Bye! Bye bye! Thank you