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John M. Kelly Library

Documentaries: French Studies

The Kelly Library collects resources to support the University of Toronto Department of French

See also the list of French cinema


Books and Kings

N5300 .D58 v.6 1999 VHS
45 minutes
This program was filmed at the French National Library where, for the first time, the public was permitted to view the rarest and most beautiful works from its ancient book collection.

Comment Peut-on Etre Francais?

JV7925 .C666 2002 DVD
52 minutes
Presenting the viewpoints of those waiting to become French citizens, this film explores the difficulty immigrants face integrating into French life. Directed by Negar Zoka. In French. NON-NORTH AMERICAN DVD--may not work in your DVD player.

Les Enfants Du Blanc

HQ777.9 .E543 2000 DVD
60 minutes; released 2000.
In this documentary the director, Sarah Bouyain, explores the life of her grandmother, who was born of a French soldier and an African girl in 1920 in Upper Volta, in the present territory of Burkina Faso. In French. Directed by Sarah Bouyain. NON-NORTH AMERICAN DVD--may not work in your DVD player.

Etre et avoir = To Be and To Have

LB2832.4 .F8 E87 2004 DVD
104 minutes; released 2002.
A moving documentary of life inside a one-room schoolhouse in a rural French village. In French with English subtitles. Directed by Nicolas Philibert.

L'oeil de Vichy = The Eye of Vichy

DC397 .E9 2002 DVD
110 minutes; released 1993.
A compilation of archival film footage which documents French collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. Directed by Claude Chabrol.

Les glaneurs et la glaneuse = The Gleaners and I

HD1549 .G54 2002 DVD
60 minutes; released 2002.
Starting with a painting of women gathering wheat left over from a harvest, film-maker Agnes Varda explores the lives of modern-day gleaners--people who insist on finding a use for things that others throw away. The journey takes her from the French countryside to the streets of Paris.

Gothic Cathedrals

NA4830 .G68 1995 VHS
50 minutes
A documentary about the architecture of Gothic cathedrals including Notre Dame in Paris, Notre Dame in Chartres, and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

The Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

N5300 .D58 v.5 1999 VHS
45 minutes
Anne of Brittany ordered her book of hours from the master, Jean Bourdichon. This program features a close-up look at this masterpiece: 63 paintings containing over 300 different species of plants that decorated the pages. The book is now in the Bibliothque nationale de France.

The Heart Has Its Reasons

BV4460 .D6 1984 VHS
57 minutes
A documentary about Jean Vanier and the l'Arche community which works with mentally and physically handicapped persons in France and in the United States.

Napoleon: Soldier, Emperor, Lover, Statesman

DC203 .N37 2004 DVD
Approx. 4 hours; released 2000.
From Napoleon's birth on the island of Corsica to his final exile on the island of St. Helena, this PBS video documents the French emperor's life through such vic.phptudes as his military triumphs throughout Europe, his disastrous campaign in R.phpa, and his love for the Empress Josephine. Audio-track in English.

Paintings in Books

N5300 .D58 v.4 1999 VHS
45 minutes
This fascinating program features a close-up look at a major exhibition featuring 240 manuscripts of French illumination from 1430 to 1520.


D804.3 .S563 2003 DVD
9 hours, 26 minutes; released 1985.
Without dramatic re-enactment or archival footage, this documentary uses interviews with suriving camp inmates, SS commandants and eyewitnesses to unearth disturbing details--including timetables, finances, and logistics--about the step-by-step Nazi plan to carry out the Holocaust. Directed by Claude Lanzmann.