Mois de la francophonie - OLBI’s cultural picks

For the Mois de la Francophonie, we’ve gathered suggestions from our colleagues that will take you far and wide through film, TV series, books and song. At the end of this article, you’ll find links to two playlists, on Spotify and YouTube.

We hope you’ll enjoy watching, listening to and reading these favourites, as well as getting to see our professors and staff in a different, more personal, light.

Have a great Mois de la Francophonie!

Laura Ambrosio, FLS professor and director, undergraduate studies

Reading, especially (but not exclusively) in Italian and French, travel, cooking, singing in the University choir, listening to music — so many pastimes that I love to share with my whole family (big and small), my friends, my colleagues and my students. I also like walking my dog, who listens to me without complaining, even when I get very “flighty” trying to imitate birdsong. A passion for languages is contagious — and lifelong!

  • Documentary series: Des trains pas comme les autres (2011)
  • A work of poetic non-fiction: Une nuit (2017), by Trinh Xuan Thuan (to contemplate the universe with an astrophysicist). In this beautifully illustrated book, the author borrows a poem by Paul Éluard, “La nuit n’est jamais complète.” A luminous book, especially in these pandemic times.
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La minute de poésie : La nuit n'est jamais complète [Paul Éluard]

Renée Bélec, director of marketing and development

I’m an epicurean globetrotter who loves discovery. Everyday I learn. From Abitibi to Paris, via Budapest and Moscow, life has led me to savour different cultures in turn, while never losing interest in my own!

  • Novel: Ensemble, c’est tout (2013), by Anna Gavalda. Quote: Et puis, qu’est-ce que ça veut dire, différents? C’est de la foutaise, ton histoire de torchons et de serviettes... Ce qui empêche les gens de vivre ensemble, c’est leur connerie, pas leurs différences... 
  • Novel: L’élégance du hérisson (2006), by Muriel Barbery. Funny, true, caustic and captivating! A highly cultured woman lives behind the exterior of a dim-witted, uneducated concierge. A good example of the saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” My favourite quote: À qui n’a jamais compris que l’enchantement de la langue française naît de telles subtilités, j’adresse la prière suivante : méfiez-vous des virgules.
  • Films: C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005) (C.R.A.Z.Y. trailer), by Jean-Marc Vallée; Mommy (2014), by Xavier Dolan; Incendies (2010), by Denis Villeneuve; Monsieur Lazhar (2011), by Philippe Falardeau; and L’audition (2005)  L’audition trailer), by Luc Picard
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Angèle - Balance Ton Quoi [CLIP OFFICIEL]

Catherine Buchanan, FLS professor and OLBI assistant director

I’ve always had language learning in my blood, whether it’s French and English, or Spanish, Baoulé and Creole.  Travel has made me who I am. Currently, I travel through film, music and food. I love all kinds of films and Scandinavian series.

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Enzo Enzo "J'ai rendez-vous avec vous"

Kim Chartier, program manager, language support services for professors

I’m passionate about travel and good food. I would call myself error-prone, giggly and sensitive to others. To recharge, I like to admire the beauty of nature and lose myself in the sea air.

  • Film: Intouchables (2012), by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. Both funny and moving — just perfect! 
  • TV series: M’entends-tu (2019–2020). The stark reality of three young women from a disadvantaged background. Funny, dramatic and unsettling. (Attention: coarse language)
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SHANGUY - La Louze (Official Lyric Video)

Marc Gobeil, director, French Immersion Stream

I grew up fully bilingual and I’ve tried to learn Russian, and now, Spanish. I like all genres, so my choices are pretty much all over the place, whether in music (see the OLBI Spotify playlist), film, TV or food. Some of my recommendations are quiet songs, others are popular and some scare my children.

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Ojos - Misterio misterio (Maxime Lamotte Remix)

Marie-Josée Hamel, FLS and bilingualism studies professor, and director, graduate studies

I’m passionate about my work as a teacher and instructor in languages and technologies. I’m fortunate to have been born on the spring equinox and the Journée internationale de la Francophonie!

In addition to running marathons, I like skiing, reading and cooking. I miss travel during this pandemic.

  • Documentary series: En marge du monde (2019), hosted by the rapper Samian. In each episode, he introduces us to people who live differently, in harmony with nature and others.
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Samian feat. Anodajay // Les mots // Vidéoclip

Hélène Knoerr, FLS professor

I’ve always taught French as a second language and I’ve been learning Portuguese for a little while. Languages are one of my passions, along with jazz (I sing and play bass), travel and offbeat humour. I like good food and good wine, and, apparently, I’m an excellent cook.

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LIANE FOLY - clip "Va savoir" (1991)

Brunella Masciantonio, FLS professor

At eight years of age, during my first theatre class, when I heard the song “Mon beau sapin, roi des forêts,” I fell in love with French, this sweet, wonderful language. I’ve remained under its spell ever since, and from that moment on, my mind was made up: French would be my work!

  • Novel: Les villes de papier (2018) by Dominique Fortier. Such delicate writing, like fine lace. 
  • Novel: L’orangeraie (2013), by Larry Tremblay. A drama that thrusts us into an intolerable dilemma right from page one and makes us confront the absurdity of war.  
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Philippe Brach - Si proche et si loin à la fois - Avec Klô Pelgag

Karen Massey, marketing and communications officer

I’m into cinema, including documentaries and animated films. When I was younger, I would check out the film festivals. Now I do more cocooning with Netflix and my English bulldog. 

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Francis Cabrel - C'est écrit (Remastered)

Martine Rhéaume, FLS professor

Teaching is my profession, my passion, indeed, my vocation. This year, I will be celebrating 40 years of teaching! But what I’m most passionate about is learning! In fact, as Youssef Chahine once said, “If I teach, it is to learn.” Living now, in a time of great social and technological upheaval, makes me eager to learn even more. I’m an insatiable student.

  • TV series: La Mante (2018). A thriller with unexpected twists that keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.
  • Film: La famille Bélier (2014), by Éric Lartigau. A touching film that is both thought-provoking and comforting in this time of solitude.
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Louane Je vole paroles

Rachel Robillard, operations coordinator, Centre for Language Learning

I’m an actress and teacher by training and a Franco-Ontarian in my heart and my blood. I love cooking, documentaries and anything biographical, historical and sociocultural, particularly about the Second World War period. I’d like to think I have a well-developed sense of humour, flirting with sarcasm.

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Noir Désir - Le Vent Nous Portera (Clip Officiel)

Jérémie Séror, FLS, ESL and bilingualism studies professor, OLBI director and associate dean

A multilingual educator by choice, crossing cultural borders and passionate about the “ninth art” (comics!).

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Damien Robitaille - Homme autonome

Laurence Thibault, FLS professor

As the French slam poet and recording artist Grand Corps Malade said, “I’ve got so many life pleasures I couldn’t name them all,” but they all have to do with co-existence and creativity. That’s why I love the forms of expression that bring us together: languages, dance, voice,  music, etc.

  • Film: Ce qu’il faut pour vivre (2008), by Benoit Pilon. A sensitive film about the clash of cultures and the human condition.
  • TV series: Lâcher prise (2017–2020). A “dramatic,” funny series that’s set in Montreal.
  • Novel: Petit pays (2016), by Gaël Faye. Poetic but an easy read, a nostalgic look at a childhood spent in Rwanda, where innocence comes up against the horrors of the civil war.
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Gaël Faye - Petit Pays

See OLBI’s “Coups de coeur” playlists on and Spotify and YouTube.

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